Saturday, October 29, 2011

Giving up

All throughout school, and life, we are taught to 'try and try until you succeed'. Failure is not when you don't achieve a goal, but when you stop trying. Some people, like me, are willing to give things 'yet another' shot imagining a world where each attempts gets you closer to the dream; hence, that 'yet another' shot might be the last required. I can't help but quote Thomas Edison,

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they give up

But how correct is it to not give up ? Some are of the opinion of spending a life time on something you consider worth it. But is it appropriate to lose sight of all the other opportunities that might go by you? They say, when one door closes, another opens; but if you are too busy staring at the closed door, trying to find a way to break it down, wouldn't you miss the opened door ? Many a lives have been spent pursuing dreams that are not just 'hard' but impossible. Imagine such a person's life. How many times would he have felt utter despair, all hopes dying, yet he struggled. Somethings, some ideas, might have looked tempting but the pursuit would have led him to no better place.

Or is the success not as important as the pursuit itself ? Can one die satisfied just knowing that he's worked day in and day out pursuing a dream to his fullest potential, but yet couldn't achieve the dream, maybe because what he has dreamed of is impossible ? Or is success the single most important important thing ?

Now consider a case where the more attempts you make, the more you might push the goal away; but there's always that slight possibility of attaining it. Would you still make the attempt ? One way to look at it is that you never had it; hence pushing it away can make it no worse. Another perspective to is to realize that its important to not lose sight of the goal. Pushing it away might make all future attempts go in vain and now you can neither have it nor see it.

What would you do ? 


  1. I personally think - as with most dilemmas - the best idea is to take the middle ground. Don't give up on something you really, really want but don't also lose sight of other opportunities that might be more realistic. I know that's easier said than done, but it's what makes most sense to me.
    It really does depend on how important that one goal is. If I fail once and I don't mind giving up, then I know that this endeavor didn't really matter to me in the first place. And of course, if I don't want to give up yet, then I know it really is important - and I keep trying.

  2. If you devote your entire life to a goal, single-mindedly, you'll mostly never end up with nothing. You will have made some progress, pushed the boundaries of some domain of knowledge. I think that should (ideally) bring satisfaction, knowing that you laid down some part of the path to the answer, even if someone else walked it to the very end. The fact remains that you were a crucial part of it. But it's also true that this is hard to accept in reality (knowing that you haven't achieved what you ultimately wanted; it must feel a bit like failure).

    I'd also say that pursuit is just as equally important as the final result, because the pursuit is what changes you for the better. That is not a small thing in itself, since it potentially lays down crucial foundations for your future.

    By the way, nice analogy with the doors :)