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What It Really Means To Never Give Up

By Ellesse

I had dinner with my old classmates recently. Over a sumptuous spread of sushi, we talked about how we were getting on in life and our plans for the future. One of them, G had started a webstore and was thinking of taking a 6 months sabbatical off her job to focus on the business. I remembered she had a close friend who ran an ecommerce store full time and reminded G to seek her advice.

“Oh, wasn’t you aware? She went back to the corporate world.” G blurted out just as I popped a piece of salmon sushi into my mouth. I nearly choked.

“Huh? You mean she’s no longer working on her business?” I muffled. “What’s she doing now?”

“She went back to being a secretary.” G explained, taking a sip off her cup of green tea. “You know, it can be really nerve wrecking just surviving on the business’ income. It’s too unstable.” G nibbled on a piece of meguro sashimi and continued, “So after several months working solely on the store, she took on another part-time job. Sales related. But that industry was too competitive and newcomers like her had no edge. She called it quits and finally went back to her old line. But she’s still manning the webstore on the side though.”

I put down my chopsticks.


G’s friend was one of few people within my social circle who inspired me in one way or another. Back at the time when everyone of us – myself included – were slogging on 9 to 5s, G’s friend left her job in a corporate firm to setup an online business. Though she had no prior knowledge in the line of products she was selling, you can tell from the way she went about learning the tools of the trade that she really wanted it to be a success. I secretly admired her guts to go against the tide and yearned that one day I would muster enough courage to do the same. Learning about her decision to quit had a surreal impact on me.

The feeling was as if you’d just lost a fellow comrade in a battle. A fight towards living a conscious life where one will never settle and give up easily no matter how arduous the going seems to be. Knowing that someone like her – one of the more strong willed & self aware persons I knew around me – also gave in to the realities of life, I was slightly disappointed.

“Never Never Never Give Up!” ~ Winston Churchill

I’ll be lying if I tell you I never give up on anything in my life. Most of us have been quitters at any one point of time. I did and I still grapple with such thoughts every now and then. In fact, it was the act of quitting on goals that didn’t worked out that led to where I am now. Every endeavour served its purpose in chronicling this path I’m treading on. And I don’t regret embarking on every single one of them!

So what does “never give up” really mean?

It’s an attitude. It’s a refusal to kowtow to one’s circumstances regardless of what happens. It’s an attitude of life when you’ll continue to believe in yourself and never succumb to the experiences that life throws at you. It’s not about staunchly holding onto something for the sake of your ego. Or for putting up a pretense.

It’s not about winning every time or not failing at all. No one can do that. But rather, taking heed from our failures, pick it up from we left off and move on. Either to continue in the same ambition with a different twist or plunge into an entirely different domain altogether.

You can fail. And you can lose for now. You can even quit on those goals that don’t serve you any more. But no matter what happens, don’t ever be defeated in spirit to even try and forge much stronger than before.

People Who’ve Never Given Up

So many wonderful men and women of the past have shown us how they’d never given up on their ambition. In my next article, I’ll be featuring some of these famous successful people who failed umpteen times only to emerge stronger, tougher fighters. And whenever you feel like throwing in the towel, read about them and ask yourself

“They never give up. Why should I?”

** Photo by Shandi Lee

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