‘Never give up’ is probably one of the most common pieces of advice we hear on internet. On surface, it appears true, but I feel like it needs nuance. As it stands, the advice is very wrong. I think most of the time giving up is the right thing to do. You can’t be doing thousand things at once. If you never gave up, you’d only do one thing all your life. The fun is giving up on something, and trying a different thing for a change. If you disagree, please let me know in comments.
I understand the meaning when people say ‘never give up’. All good things take time and persistence. You should stay on the road to your goal, as long as you think that road could get you there. You shouldn’t be looking for guarantees that you’ll get there, but at least some chance. If you need to go north, but the road turns around and takes you south, give up. Start over. Try a different road. I feel like sometimes advice like ‘never give up’ stops people from being self aware, analyzing their choices and adjusting for a better approach.
For example, Rovio is a Finnish company that makes famous games like Angry Bird. You may not know that Angry Bird was their 52nd game. Before that, they built many games that had little success. I wouldn’t recommend them to give up on making games altogether, because it’s a creative process, and if you want to be a successful game developer, some of your initial games are going to fail. Most of the time people don’t come up with big hits straight away. They learn and adapt.
They stayed on track, and did become one of the largest game developers in the world. They have hundreds of employees and millions of dollars in yearly revenue.
Let’s discuss another example of late success – Steve Jobs at Apple. There’s a lot of talk about his genius, but I would argue that he became a visionary after getting fired. Failure of initial Mac and getting fired was his opportunity for self reflection to correct his path. He did, and after coming back to Apple, he launched one successful product line after another. Also, in the meantime, he founded Pixar. For me, Pixar is as big of Jobs’ legacy as his pioneering of personal computers and smartphones.
Jobs himself admitted that getting fired was ultimately a good thing. The fact is that young Jobs was brash, too focused on vision and didn’t understand real-world constraints. Jobs who came back to Apple was a much better manager and businessmen, and results followed.
With this blog, I wanted to share my thoughts on success and the factor of giving up. I feel like this question does not have such a simple answer, and wanted to contribute my 2 cents to the conversation. I hope everyone reading this post achieves some success.