Business Growth

When Is It Time to Give Up?

The question of when is it time to give up is one that we are all faced with at some point. Perhaps the real question is what do we mean by giving up? In my last post How Do You Define Failure? I discussed the importance of persevering and not letting our failures stop us too soon. Each apparent failure can really be a learning experience and a vital step on the way to success. But, what do you do when it seems as if success is going to permanently elude you?

Take a Time Out

Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a time out from what we are attempting. We need to be willing to allow ourselves the luxury of diverting our attention temporarily to something else that may even be unrelated. This is a little like the idea of sleeping on something for a few nights and just letting our mind subconsciously work on a problem. It is fairly common to suddenly have an answer pop into our head when we were not deliberately thinking about finding a solution. A temporary diversion is often one of the most productive things we can do. However, that diversion does not necessarily need to be play time or what seems like wasted time. We could move on to working on some other seemingly unrelated issues. Occasionally one of the other issues will prompt an answer to our original problem. So, while it may look like we have given up, what we are really doing is allowing our mind to work on its own.

Reframe the Problem

Perhaps we are so caught up in what we thought we were trying to accomplish that we miss the obvious. Consider the development of post-it notes at 3M. The scientist who developed the adhesive used on them was actually trying to develop a super strong adhesive. He continue to promote his adhesive for other possible uses, but it went unused for nearly six years until another individual had the idea to use the low-strength adhesive in the manner we now see with post-it notes. So, “when is it time to give up?” Well in this case it was not as soon as something did not work as hoped. Sometimes people just need to think and reframe the problem. With the development of this adhesive the solution came before the problem. All it took was someone to use their imagination to consider possibilities.

dreamer

Put It in the Idea Bank

How often do you have an idea and then just let it go without ever acting on it? If you don’t already do this, consider keeping a file where you record random ideas. Keep it handy and periodically review it. If you are working on an idea for which there seems to be no solution then the question of “when is it time to give up?” can become rhetorical if you put this issue aside by recording it in your idea file. Later something else you are working on may well jog your memory of the original idea filed away, while at the same time providing you with a solution.

Artists sometimes have several pictures they are working on. They may be struggling with one picture and divert their attention to it (kind of like taking a time out). Then when they return to it later they then see how to proceed and get the results they want. It is not unusual to occasionally let an idea for a painting sit for an extended time, almost like the idea bank concept. Later, after their mind has subconsciously worked on the idea they suddenly find they are ready to paint it. An author can do the same thing when writing a book. They may get stuck on where to go with a story line and take a diversion to another task. When they resume writing the story line has now developed in their mind.

So before you give up reframe the idea of what it means to give up. Yes, sometimes it may be that you never finalize something, but other times you will find that a temporary diversion helps or that an idea you put aside in your idea bank is now one that makes complete sense.

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How Do You Define Failure?

The question of how do you define failure is an important one. The way you think of failure strongly impacts the results you get. Consider this quote of Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” In other words, Read the rest of this entry »

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Repetition Can Blind You to the Obvious

Like it or not, every business has things that need to be done over and over. Despite the necessity, this repetition can blind you to the obvious. Think about it. When something is repeated enough there is a tendency to operate on autopilot, and when we do that it is easy to Read the rest of this entry »

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Stop Learning at Your Own Peril

Learning is a never-ending endeavor. Either your deliberately learn or you stop learning at your own peril. In the blog Be Willing to Experiment I discussed the important of accepting that change occurs and being the catalyst for the change we desire. Continuous learning is part of the process of being a catalyst for favorable change. Read the rest of this entry »

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Be Willing to Experiment

In my last posting Be Willing to Entertain What Seems Impossible I discussed the importance of learning to turn off negative, defeatist thinking and take on some challenges that at first may seem completely impossible.

Like it or not you and your surroundings are going to change. The question is, “Do you have any control over the change?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Be Willing to Entertain What Seems Impossible

Sometimes we can find ourselves wondering if something is even possible. Well, try to be willing to entertain what seems impossible as a way to get unstuck. Read the rest of this entry »

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Strive to Identify Competitors’ Weaknesses

We sometimes get overly concerned about what our competitors are doing. Maybe what they’re not doing may matter more.

Why What They’re Not Doing?

In the blog Don’t Attack Your Competitors’ Strengths we looked briefly at why attacking strengths may not be such a great idea, especially if your competitors are much larger. One example was trying to compete on prices with a large company that has far more purchasing power. That is generally a losing proposition. Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t Get Blinded by Habits

It’s easy to get caught up in attitude of “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” While there is value in them, don’t get blinded by habits. Read the rest of this entry »

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Perspective Requires Multiple Views

When you are told you need a new perspective how do you respond? Some of the definitions of perspective include the state of one’s ideas and a way of picturing something spatially. So, we hear statements like, “That’s your opinion, but I have a different perspective.” There in is the rub. We have a tendency to reduce others’ perspectives to opinions. But, what if we look at this a little differently? Read the rest of this entry »

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Change and Adapt to Grow

Take some time to think about how you are now versus how you were 5, 10, 15 or more years ago. If you are like me you see someone very different. We all change and adapt to grow whether intentionally or not. Read the rest of this entry »

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