Small Change, Large Differences
Ever had one of those days you wake up and realize high school was a million light years away? Another class reunion is on the horizon and it still feels like everyone's successful but yourself. Do you remember excelling in some sport or activity but just never seeing it through? How long has it been since you last heard a classmate or teacher utter a remark that inspired you to continue no matter the difficulty? Yet somehow, something changed, you took a different direction and just never looked back.
If this sounds oddly familiar, then you're most likely just one of the countless individuals who never realized the full impact of how a single day's decision could transform into a life altering event. Perhaps it was that one time you let a little rain get in your way, or let a coach's reprimand get the better of you. Did you skip practice to watch a movie or let partying take center stage? Back then it didn't really matter, nothing did, yet now it meant everything.
It's not the end of the world
The past happened, get over it. When adults repeat lines like "No crying over spilled milk" or "All water under the bridge", it's because they understand that holding on to something beyond one's control is futile. There's no reason to continue beating ourselves up over the past. Our attention should focus on the here and now, on the moment and only the present. For what transpires now could echo into the coming years, dictating the future and the rest of our lives.
Never giving up has its limits, as there is a huge difference between fanatical obsession and sheer commitment. The former utilizes a delusional perspective to insist on a action plan that makes no sense and the latter focuses on a more realistic and attainable scenario. When one understands priorities, one allows themselves to pass through the honest lenses of introspection to see a clearer picture of who they truly are. Without reflection, we lose sight of things and just like Captain Ahab, who drowns the Pequod along with his entire crew, we chase the white whale of impossibility into our ruin.
Keep marching on
Many of the world's greats experienced setbacks yet never allowed those missed opportunities to dictate their reactions. Did you know that Michael Jordan, the world's greatest basketball player was cut from his high school team or that Jack Ma, China's richest Billionaire was rejected countless times when he applied for work? Walt Disney, founder of the multi-billion dollar Disney company, was so poor he had to eat dog food after being fired from a newspaper company for not having good ideas. The Beatles, the most successful act of the 20th century were constantly turned down by record labels. From Oprah to Bill Gates, everyone that's made it into the pantheons of immortality have all experienced failures and rejections. Had they allowed those hiccups to deter them from pushing forward, they would be unheard of.
Adapting as weapon
When the line "Never give up" is mentioned, images of a fighter never surrendering or underdogs never backing down are conjured. Yet we fail to grasp the underlying truth behind what makes their actions so memorable. They changed tactics, they learned about their opponents and attempted a different plan, all by simply adapting to the conditions presented by the challenge. Had they pressed on using the same move, they would have lost.
Charles Darwin famously stated: 'It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives, it is the one that is most adaptable to change!" How he would have relished to witness the discovery of the tardigrades, a near microscopic animal that resembles a cuddly teddy bear, has survived 5 mass extinctions, are almost indestructible and can thrive in outer space. These "water-bears" as they are fondly referred to are neither the largest nor the most cunning, yet they manage to outlast the entire animal kingdom by utilizing only one major function -being adaptable.
Adapting is key to overcoming any challenge. Whether it's a toxic office, a tough boss or a grueling journey that awaits, constant readjustment to a specific condition is key to change and never giving up.