The key to never quitting anything ever again is pretty simple….you just keep trying again! It is one of those things that is just that easy but can be infinitely more complex. The problem is likely found between the tries. Often times it doesn’t help to keep trying something in the exact same way you’ve been doing it so let’s look at a few things to keep in mind when you face a situation that causes you to consider throwing in the towel.
PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE
There are some tasks or situations that just need a few minor adjustments and a little patience and perseverance. Twelve years ago when I decided that I wanted to give neon glass bending a shot at the neon shop I was working at my then boss said it would take me 4 years to get skilled and even longer than that to make any real money. Being the young stud that I was, or at least thought that I was, I assumed that might have been how it was for other people but I would catch on quickly and be great in no time.
It didn’t take me long to understand that I was but a mere mortal.
Glass bending is an art and a highly honed skill. You start with a 4′ straight tube of glass and use various forms of fires to bend and fuse those tubes into the beautiful glowing lights that you see illuminating the world around you. There are no machines in the world that can do this…it takes a human touch. It also takes years to learn. The gentleman that I convinced to teach me the art gave me about four minutes of instruction and in theory taught me everything there is to know about how to do the most simple glass bending technique. He then looked at me and said “now do this 500 times and come and get me” and he walked away. Out of those 500 tries maybe 50 weren’t terrible and maybe 5 were actually serviceable. I showed my teacher and he said “these suck. Do another 500 and come and get me”…and that was just one of many techniques to learn.
It was a truly humbling experience and one that had me second guessing my career move. Fortunately for me I’m a stubborn man and I kept going back for more punishment. Long story short, it took days, weeks, months and even years to feel confident and skilled. During that time my failures far outnumbered my successes and the burn marks on my arms outnumbered the dollar signs in my bank account. But with patience and perseverance and an attitude to never quit I have become highly skilled and highly rewarded.
Patience and Perseverance is not only rewarded in life but it is also a reward of not quitting…so next time you feel like throwing in the towel on a task at work or home just pull out your best Axl Rose impression, kill that whistle solo and realize that “all you need is a little patience…yea a yea!”
Sometimes you just have to get creative and resourceful to find ways to move forward. Most of the problems that we face as leaders of our families or businesses cause us to look for new ways to use random or downright strange items or tools to conquer the issues that we face.
When my brother and I used to frame houses back in the 90’s it seemed like each day, more like every hour we came across a problem that a hammer, nails, saws or tools in general just couldn’t fix. I was fairly young and these problems always seemed like death and doom because I couldn’t see a way around them. Luckily for me, my brother was a real life MacGyver and he always found a way to make things work. He didn’t think in terms of “I can’t” or “there’s no way” but rather “how can I?” or “what if we…”. Down south we would say that he knew that “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. (no cats were harmed during this blog). Many times the necessity to think abstractly led us to new daily practices because they actually saved time or effort.
Our motto became “you gotta be smarter than what your working with!”. It was both our battle cry and our proclamation of victory. It had an underlying two part meaning…we had to be smarter than the problem with faced and we needed to stretch our thinking to be smarter than the brain we were working with. Even though that was decades ago I still utter those words every time I come across a problem that takes some creativity to overcome and I instill it in my children when they bring me problems that they can’t figure out and are on the brink of quitting.
So if you find yourself beating your head against the wall not being able to find solutions to the issues you are facing step back, take a deep breath and take a look around. Whether that be in your physical environment, the virtual environment or spiritual environment and look for resources that could help you creatively come out on top.
EDUCATION and TRAINING
There is definitely wisdom in picking your battles and knowing when to hold’em, knowing when to fold’em, knowing when to walk away and knowing when to run like you are on fire. But there are some obstacles that we have to face, especially as husbands and fathers that we can’t walk away or run from. Sometimes we just aren’t equipped to handle these obstacles yet and it takes some self-awareness, humility and inner fortitude to take action and learn or hone some new skills that prepare us for success.
Parenting and family leadership is a great example of this. No matter how much we think we know about being a parent or a husband we are inevitably blindsided by unforeseen challenges. Too many fathers and husbands come up on these issues and shrink from them. They either look for ways out altogether by leaving, bury themselves in work or hobbies or look for unhealthy ways to ignore issues that they have contributed to. The good news for every nervous, jaded or just pissed off father or husband is that there are typically solutions out there to be found for most of these issues. There are therapists and coaches out there that live to help people just like you with these situations, sound advice online and entire sections at your local bookstore devoted to helping you navigate the various situations that being the head of family present.
Of course this applies to changing your transmission, installing a dishwasher, changing diapers or cooking dinner. There are educational and training resources (google, youtube, friends and family…etc.) everywhere if we just humble ourselves and open our eyes.
Never underestimate the power of education and training and understand that taking a little time to hone your skills or learn “how to” or “how can I?” is not quitting…as long as you keep trying!
In conclusion, the next time you feel like quitting at anything in life grab a piece of paper, your phone or a keyboard and ask yourself a few questions. Be honest with yourself.
Is this issue something that I just need to be patient with? Am I looking for an easy way out?
What resources do I have access to that could help me be successful? What resources are immediately available to me? Who do I know that might be able to help?
Do I have the knowledge or training that I need to handle this situation? What do I need to do to gain the knowledge to handle this situation?
Maybe the most important question of all would be Is this issue worth my time? Or Is this my mountain to climb? Part of not quitting on the things that are most important in life is not giving undue attention to the things that aren’t important.
God bless and good luck to each and every one of you…and remember, the key to never quitting anything ever again is just to keep trying!