Six Reasons for Hope: Reason Number 6

Reason Number Six: You Can Refuse to Quit

If you missed Reasons for Hope 1-5 you can find them here.“Never, never, never give up”…Winston Churchill“There are but two roads that lead to an important goal and to the doing of great things: strength and perseverance. Strength is the lot of but a few privileged people; but austere perseverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the smallest of us and rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irresistibly greater with time.” …Goethe“Difficulties brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint”…Romans 5:4

Have you ever felt like just giving up? Do you sometimes struggle to muster up the motivation, energy and excitement to just keep going from day to day?

Or, are you pursuing a goal, dream or plan that is starting to seem too tough to reach and felt like throwing in the towel on the whole “crazy idea”.


I certainly have had these types of thoughts and feelings and still find myself wrestling with them periodically.

And it seems that the older I get the temptation to stop dreaming, working and believing for lofty aspirations and ideals gets stronger with each passing year. Wouldn’t it be easier to just coast through the rest of my life and not get my hopes up too much about the possibilities for the future I sometimes ask myself?

Yet I already know from experience and observation that if one decides to “coast” they end up coasting downhill into the quagmire of mediocrity and misery. And my studies of successful people and my own internal compass point to the idea that people are at their best and happiest and healthiest when they are moving forward and upward and producing good with their lives, times and talent.

And, the deep and strong desire of my heart is to live all parts of my life with all my might as long as I have another breath to breathe. My guess is that a few of you reading this have a similar attitude.

If that attitude rings true for you that means that completely giving up or quitting on your goals, plans and future is not a legitimate option.

Yet at times we all need some encouragement to press on, reminders of the value of our ambitions and role models of perseverance to emulate.

Maybe that is one of the reasons that I enjoy working so much with mature adults in my fitness and health endeavors? For instance, when I get an email from someone in their 90’s asking what weight kettle bell they should be using I just have to smile.

I want to be like that person. A steadfast soul who NEVER gives up.

A dignified and age defiant person that keeps pressing on, falling occasionally but picking themselves up again and again. Plodding along when they can’t run but determined nevertheless to finish their race strong and help others to win along the way too.

Of all of the posts I have written about in this series on hope, this one may be the most meaningful and powerful. To me at least…

You can get everything else right in your pursuit of a goal or dream or a life well lived, but it you flat out quit and give up permanently, you have lost a part of the story your life was intended to tell.

In that spectrum of your life where you quit, you have failed to finish strong. And that doesn’t usually just hurt the quitter; it often hurts those close to the person who in despair has given up…hope.

And many of us may have done this once or twice in our lives, but the danger is that quitting can become our all too familiar pattern of life.

This topic of perseverance, of pressing on, of not giving up is one that stirs me up emotionally and spiritually perhaps more than any other issue.

Not to have a pity party here, but for much of my life I have had others telling me not to dream or to quit on my dreams before I had to suffer the pain of disappointment. You see, I was an insecure kid who in my own eyes and the eyes of many people around me, did not seem to possess any unique talents or abilities.

At the same time, my own nagging self-doubts and negative self-perceptions did little to encourage me. Yet, inside of me as a young man there burned a desire to live life at a higher level.

That desire still burns, but not just for me. I now love to encourage others to strive for their best, especially those who are struggling with discovering and pursuing their passions and dreams.

These days I can see very clearly that everybody is a somebody. I now know with every fiber of my body that every uniquely created human being who has ever walked the earth is capable of producing wonderful good during the expanse of their lives if they simply work at it everyday and DON’T QUIT.

Regrettably, there were those times when I have let my own negative attitudes or false beliefs about myself along with others opinions cause me to quit when I should have persevered. And thus I have tasted the bitter flavor of regret that comes from quitting when you know that you should have stuck and stayed with it too often in my life.

As crazy as it sounds, I am now oh so very thankful that I learned some hard lessons about the mistakes of quitting too soon and for the wrong reasons in my earlier life. Now, as I push closer to my sixties, the conviction on the power of perseverance for a well lived life is a solid rock in my life’s repertoire.

These days as I said though my focus is less on myself and more on others that I see quitting on themselves. And, because this post is about reasons to have hope obviously permanently quitting on something removes any hope for that area to improve.

As I write this on January 5, 2016, I have already heard from some people who have “blown it” on their New Years Resolutions and are ready to quit! My advice to them is to take heart because every day is a new opportunity to start again.

A few nights ago I watched a TV special on the US Navy Seals Training program which emphasized that most who attempt to make the Seals quit due to the difficulty of the training. Very few attempting to become Seals even last through the first section of training.

But a man who was part of the highly elite Navy Seal Team Six and involved in taking out Osama Bin Laden and the Somalia pirates told of one of the ways he was able to endure the harsh training that most did not.

Early in his training one of his commanders had told him, “We are not asking you to do anything that cannot be done. Others have already done this and none of it is impossible. Incredibly difficult, yes, impossible, no. You can do this if you simply refuse to quit.”

When I heard that, it hit home with me. We don’t need to be facing the rigors of Navy Seal Training to benefit from this advice.

Whatever challenge, discouragement or daunting task, goal or dream you are up against, you can prevail and ultimately be victorious if you simply refuse to quit!

So as we move into 2016, I would like to wrap up this series on reasons to have hope with four tips to help you to not give up on yourself, your dreams, goals, visions and hopes on for anything that matters and is important to you.

Tip # 1 – Boldly Declare Your Goals in Writing.

There are countless reasons to put goals in writing but a primary one is so that you can go back to it and read it when you are tempted to quit.

Here is a tool that I wrote for you to use or you can research written goals on the internet. The point is to have written goals, especially in those areas where you have a tough time persevering.

Tip # 2 – Do a Daily “Mini-rewrite”.

Each morning I jot down my daily plans and bullet point reminders of my “vital few”. Like everyone else, I fall short and mess up on my goals and the type of person I want to be.

So what do you do when that happens? Get back on the horse ASAP and start riding again. I “get back on my horse” by jotting down my daily and longer term goals on an index card each morning to get moving again in the direction of my intentions.

Too many of us just feel like once we’ve stumbled, failed or fallen that its too late for us. No way I say, as long as we have breathe, we have hope.

By doing a daily “mini-rewrite” of your goals it reinforces that this is going to be a process of steps forward and backwards, but that we are refusing to quit.

Tip # 3 – Find and Follow Role Models of Good Perseverance.

I have incredible respect for my elders. And, on the days where I may feel a bit dismayed, one of the things I do is look to them for course correction and inspiration.

For example, in my hometown there is a couple that I know personally named Mel and Katherine Fisher. I know Katherine personally because I used to be her supervisor when working in School Nutrition.

Katherine has born in September 1920. The same month and year as my father (who passed away in 1987). That of course makes Katherine 96 years young.

Just last week she sent me a facebook message that I was her favorite boss of all timeJ. Facebook? I’m still trying to figure out how that works!

But If you have ever met Katherine she has more spunk and passion and smiles more easily and readily than most people a third her age.

And then, she is married to Mel. Mel is a Pearl Harbor survivor and still serves as a School Board president. I’m not sure of his exact age, but mid-90’s for sure.

And, I have not kept up with them lately, but I recall that they were always active in their community, helping out everywhere that they can.

My point is that they are not quitters. No, they are examples of individuals dedicated to service of their fellow human beings. And, they, and everyone like them, inspire me not to quit!

I would encourage you to look for similar role models of perseverance and also seek to become such a role model yourself for others to emulate.

Tip # 4 – Be Grateful You Still Have Opportunity to Live, Serve and Love.

On the days and times when I’m tempted to quit or give up on a goal, I have to remind myself that today and what it holds is something to look forward to and be thankful for.

In 50 years or so chances are pretty good my life on earth will be over. Your clock may hold different numbers.

But for today at least, you have got some good work to do. If you don’t finish it today, you can get back at it tomorrowJ.

Either way, you can refuse to quit until it gets done.

That mindset, I think, is one that not only can keep us alive longer, but also make us stronger and more fully alive each and every day. So please, join me in refusing to quit on the good work that is set before you to do today and throughout 2016.

I will close by saying how thankful I am for all of you who give me the opportunity to serve you and to let you know how much I appreciate each and every one of you for your reading my emails and believing in my work.

Let’s make it a great 2016!

All the best, Fred
Fred Schafer, MS, CFT