It is very important to never give up on your dreams. Ever. Life is short and you should never quit your pursuits when things get tough.
About four years back when I was a second-year student in the Athletic Training Program at my alma mater, I struggled with the core courses that were necessary for graduation from the program. I understood the theory behind what I was being taught, but I had a hard time putting it all together during my clinicals.
The end of that year arrived and I was up for my year end practical exam, this was a terrifying time for me because I did not feel ready to take this exam and I did not feel as though there was a good way to study for it. My name was called and the person administering the exam was a preceptor I had who did not like me at all.
When I was finished with the test he passed me but said the reason why he did was to catch me a break and that if his kids had me as an athletic trainer he wouldn’t let them play sports. I was crushed. The rest of that day I spent all my time debating whether I should quit the athletic training program or continue to my senior year.
I decided to stay on but my struggles did not go away. Senior year athletic training students are assigned two sports to work with for an entire season, mine were volleyball and wrestling. At the beginning of the volleyball season, I had trouble with ankle taping and wound care because I did not have much experience with it before.
The classmate I had worked with also went to lengths to undermine me around the volleyball players, she would tell them that I was incompetent and that if they needed someone to see after I messed up she should be the one.
My clinical preceptor for this sport was kind enough to speak with me and the clinical director about my lack of progress as she knew I was dedicated and willing to do whatever needed to be done so I could catch up with the rest of the class.
After all the mistakes, I realized that the root of the problem was over-thinking and when I resolved this issue, my skills improved. Not only that, but all the mistakes I had made forced me to learn many valuable lessons with applying my athletic training skills and I eventually mastered the skills by the end of the wrestling season in the spring and I passed my boards on the first try.
I was then offered an internship to be an athletic trainer at a small polytechnic school 30 minutes away from my college. I was ecstatic. All the hard work and the lessons learned from all of my mistakes finally paid off. It was then that I realized that when you face failure or make mistakes, it is a very poor decision to give up. An even worse mistake than any you could make either personally or professionally is to give up.
So How Can You Apply This to Your Life? Failure and The Path to Success
When you start out in anything and you are learning, unless you are a genius or a savant, you are not going to be very good at it at all. This can be very frustrating as success is never overnight yet the expectation to be successful in that short of a time is there.
On the path to success, failure can be painful. But this pain will only make you grow to become ready for the success that is inevitable by pushing past failure and never giving up on your dreams.
We live in a society of instant gratification and so we expect everything we want to come right away and without pain. Life never works that way yet Hollywood shoves that idea down our throats.
You might have haters nipping at your heels saying “Well I guess that didn’t work out for ya, did it? I guess you have to just quit and move on with your life accepting that some of your dreams are just that, dreams”.
After experiencing failure after failure and hearing this it is very tempting to drop out of school, quit trying to start that business or give up on that book you were trying to get published. Yet the most successful people, no matter how many times they failed, never gave up. They did not quit their path to success until they reached and exceeded their goals.
Did they have to course correct? Adjust their approach or tweak some of their ideas? Sure. But they did not give up on the principle of the idea that they were wanting to pursue. As Mark Cuban says in his book The Sport of Business: If I Can Do It You Can Do It Too, you only have to be right once to be successful.
You see, despite what Hollywood make you think, all the people who became successful and changed the world around them did not become that way in a day. They became that way by failing and then failing some more. When they learned all the lessons that they needed to learn to become successful, they then experienced their success in spades.
They stuck it out and did not give in until they won at their craft. Many entrepreneurs such as Com Mirza have gone through failure after failure until they finally were able to pull off that one successful venture that paved the way to success. Again, this reinforces what Mark Cuban says about needing to only be right once.
Imagine if some of the most famous people in American history gave up, how different our worlds would be. If Steve Jobs gave up after getting fired from Apple. If Thomas Edison gave up after failing his first attempt at the light bulb. If Albert Einstein listened to his teachers when they said that he wouldn’t amount to much. Entertain the thought for a second at just how different our world would be.
Heck if Thomas Edison gave up on the lightbulb other technologies may not have been available to us like the computer, the television or even the car.
If Albert Einstein didn’t pursue his passion in the sciences he would not have discovered nuclear fission, leaving some other country to discover it and perhaps wreak havoc on the world with it.
People may say that the reason why these people were successful because they were super talented and were gifted with lots of intelligence. Although this may be true sometimes, some of the most successful people of our time are no more intelligent than you or me.
Take tech entrepreneur Alex Becker or billionaire Mark Cuban as examples. These people did not possess crazy amounts of intellect but they did see opportunity, and they did not give up at the first sign of resistance or failure.
So, when you are trying to succeed at something, whether in fitness, school, business or athletics, just think of how all the most successful people in this country went through similar circumstances and faced just as much if not more resistance and still made it. Let that and my own story of never giving up be the fuel to help you push through the tough times so you can be your very own success story.
And if you are truly tempted to give up on that business, that book or that invention, just think how so many lives you would be impacting by not giving them the gift that you desire to give. Just think how our society, whether locally, nationally or internationally could be influenced negatively if you just gave up.
Just think about that for a second and then ask yourself if you really want to give up on that dream of yours. When in doubt, follow the first pillar of empowerment and never give up on your dreams.