positive thinking

Do You Give Up Easily?

never give up vidya sury

“Don’t give up” is a mantra I grew up with and over the years, have reaped the benefits. Oh, I’ve certainly felt like quitting sometimes, but something within me would always tell me to go on.

My Mom always inspired me to hope. Even when none was apparent. And when, in spite of slogging, things didn’t work out, she’d say it was because there was something much better in store. Easier said than done.

Funny how beliefs build up, right? But yes, there’s a lot to be said for perseverance and persistence – and of course, not giving up too soon.
There’s nothing worse than putting in a lot of effort, and when the moment of decision is a hair’s breadth away, giving up on the assumption that things will not work out. On the flip side, some people assume that things will work out – become over-confident and then, watch helplessly as things go out of their control. It happens to everyone at some stage in life. And becomes a huge learning point.

Last week, a friend of mine and I were reminiscing over old times. We used to be colleagues in one of the places I worked and continued to keep in touch. Every once in a while we call each other, plan to meet up and enjoy a long long conversation on the phone before we get on with our day. During this particular call, we remembered another colleague and as old friends will, recalled incidents from that time. Certain things that happen are quite unforgettable and this was one of those.

Let me tell you what happened.

This was during my stint in the office automation industry. My colleague was a great guy. Smart. Successful. Too confident. He also assumed he was perfect – and stopped doing the little things sales people must do to maintain relations with a client.

There was this long term client on our roster. This meant the service engineers would visit regularly and the sales person would intervene only when it was necessary. Of course, we kept in touch with the purchase guys to keep track of new requirements. Now – this guy had been handling this client for a while. When a little birdie told us that a large requirement was coming up in that organization, he made the cursory visit and came back – saying there was no news about it yet.

The heat is on

The case hotted up after a few weeks and soon, it was negotiation time. By now, there were competitors in the fray since it was a large order. This guy was spending a lot of time on the account – and one could see he was fatigued. Then, negotiations were over. All that was left was for the client to actually issue the order. There were some internal issues on their side, non availability of the signing authority and so on…and somehow, the matter dragged.

This guy lost interest in the client

He was angry that he sweated so much over it… the order was nowhere in sight – and well, sales people have targets to meet. They can’t focus on just the one client. But this order would have not only helped him achieve his sales quota for the next two months, but would also be a big feather in his cap. He became desperate and started hanging around the client’s office. Days went by. Dejected, he got back to his usual beat.

Then one day, there was a courier from the client. This guy was so mad at them, he just picked it up and shoved it in his bag as he walked out of the office and forgot all about it. He thought, “Ugh. Now what. Why waste time opening that cover”. Two days later, the client called, wanting to speak with him. He wasn’t in the office. When he returned in the evening, he saw his list of phone calls and returned some…and this client’s was not one of them.

Another two days passed. Saturday arrived. We were sitting in the office – this guy was cleaning out his bag – and found the envelope, squashed at the bottom. Exasperated, joking, he opened it. It was the client’s order.

Can you imagine how he felt?

He had worked so long and hard at it…and at the crucial moment – lost hope – gave up. Being a Saturday, no damage control was possible and I think he spent the worst weekend in his life, waiting for Monday. On Monday morning, he went to the client’s office to find that the order had been issued to the competitor.

I tell you, the guy was in a rotten mood, naturally – and took the rest of the day off. He was a broken man, literally. Soon after, he quit the organization. Much later, we heard he was no longer working in sales. In the industry it is pretty hard not to bump into each other – after all, we worked the same market.

So anyway – it was a big lesson, in a sense, to all of us. And quite a wake up call on assumptions.

It is…

  • Easy to give up.
  • Not so easy to hang on.
  • Easy to take things for granted
  • Not so easy to accept when things do not go the way we expected
  • Easy to let ego come in the way
  • Easy to be scared
  • Not so easy to overcome fear of failure
  • Not so easy to stay focused when that happens
  • Easy to take the easy way out and quit
  • Not so easy to look those obstacles straight in the eye, stick a finger on their collective nose and say “I will persist, no matter what”

never give up vidya sury

We are stronger than we think. Our minds sometimes bring on the illusion that we “can’t”. I believe that we can when we think we can.

We can be whatever we choose to believe because that belief will spur us into action. Or not. And that is the moral of this story.

Here’s a haiku I wrote for you:

The road may be tough
Hang in there. Persevere
Persist. Don’t Give Up

Have you ever experienced this sort of thing – where you’ve worked hard and then had to give up too soon?

Were you able to do anything about it?

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Beloo Mehra
    December 9, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    The points you list under “It is” are all very helpful, especially about letting the ego get in the way. Thanks Vidya for this motivating post, the story really helped convey the message rather well.
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…Untitled MeanderingsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jemima Pett
    December 10, 2014 at 3:27 am

    I sometimes give up on things in public only to keep worrying at them in private, so no-one sees me banging my head against a brick wall. Some people might think that’s pride or big-headedness. But if something’s worth the work, I think it’s worth keeping going.

    Thanks for these thoughts, Vidya.
    Jemima Pett recently posted…It’s #READTUESDAY!My Profile

  • Reply
    Birgit
    December 11, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    I may need to rest for a while but I don’t give up. I often think there are some people where things came to them rather easily. They did not have to work hard for it while others had to sweat to try to even keep up with the people who found it “easy”. I have found that the people who found it easy get a rude awakening. There comes a time when we all face major hurdles but for some they give up and it often seems to be the very people where it came easy to them. I see people in my own life, 2 people-a brother and sister, highly intelligent, given major accolades in school. They went to University and excelled academically but they could not survive the “outside world”. By this I mean, find a job in their field, find friends and keep them, have a place of their own. The woman is 51 and her brother is 49 and they live still at home in the room they grew up in. She has no job and he has been working in retail for close to 30 years in the same job. My mom said she never has met 2 people more afraid of life than those 2. My ex could write essays in 10 minutes and receive a B for his effort. He would procrastinate and have 15 essays due by the end of school term (you could do this back then). He could sail through it while it was very difficult for me to get a C never mind a B or an A and I worked hard. For all his intelligence, because it came so easy and in both these cases they had (and still do) an ego about their own intelligence, they did not go forth with their studies. All were given raves by their families how smart they were and given lee-ways but they gave up in the end. It was too difficult. My ex even stated “there is no use, what’s the point?” With struggle comes courage to keep going in life and truly believe in the saying that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. Patience, humility, optimistic realism is all key
    Birgit recently posted…My Favourite Christmas MoviesMy Profile

  • Reply
    Antara Man
    December 13, 2014 at 3:37 am

    “Rome wasn’t build in a day”. We always want to get things quickly, forgetting good things need time for fulfillment. I watch it now with my blog – I get slightly more traffic that at the beginning but it’s not what I want it. Vidya, you said you used Scribe for more traffic, right? Did it help you? What was your success story with this blog? I remember you wrote that at the beginning it was very hard for you. I would like to know a bit more about it.
    Antara Man recently posted…Gratitude Matters (and Rocks!)My Profile

  • Reply
    obsessivemom
    December 13, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Liked your list Vidya. And I could feel for your colleague. How very very unfortunate. The only thing I don’t give up is trying to lose weight. 🙂
    obsessivemom recently posted…#Microblog Mondays – Special mornings are made of theseMy Profile

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