“Never retreat, never surrender”…is the best way to end up in a hole…
The idea that we should continue to work stoically on a project until we have made a success of it is deeply ingrained within us. Perhaps it’s the protestant work ethic that is instilled in from birth, or perhaps it’s the fear of failure and of failing that drives us to continue to work when perhaps a retreat, or all out surrender would be a better option!
Those who know my writing know that I am a big fan of doing ‘the work’ to get what you want out of life, and to do the most important things to live closer and closer to your life of passion and purpose. Which inevitably often involves hard work. But in spite of that there are times when each of us need to assess whether continuing down the same single focused track is the best way to in fact achieve these greater goals.
Seth Godin in ‘The Dip’ has written about the value of giving up on lost causes (a great read by the way) and we all know from our life experience that sometimes in order to move forward towards our ultimate goals (not just our short term ones) that we need to take a step sideways, or backwards…or stop on the path just a while to reassess.
The reality is that we can never go back anyway! Our ideas of ‘going backwards’ are in fact an illusion. Life is a process and we can only ever be ‘in the process’ i.e. moving forward and so the only logical thing to be done is to choose the best path ‘forward’ even if that path happens to lead backwards!
We all make mistakes. But instead of deriding ourselves for them we need to instead always look to them as our greatest teachings, an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve. And we must too be comfortable with failing over and over again, because to achieve the greatest rewards in life there will always be risk, and always some wrong turns made along the path of passion and purpose. Embracing the risk, and embracing those failures as part of the wondrous process of this life lived well is integral to living the shitout of life!