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Why Giving Up Might Actually Be Okay

I always enjoyed this quote by Yoda from Star Wars because it used to make sense to me. In the movie, Luke Skywalker was trying to learn how to use the force, a concept which involved controlling objects (and people) with the mind. In this scene, Luke was trying to control the X-Fighter and was naturally difficult to accomplish. While deterred, Luke mentioned he would try, only to be met with Yoda’s famous quote. In real life, I don’t have the opportunity or need to control any objects with my mind no matter how much I want to, but coming across stumbling blocks or against a brick wall, now that was something I faced. It was odd because this quote from a green jedi, fictional to say the least, was a strong source of motivation for me when I was younger. It spurred me to finish major projects and tasks, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. One day, I realised that perhaps Yoda’s quote just wasn’t as relevant as before. The changing circumstances of the world, the adaptability and knowledge of this generation has made giving up an actual and real strategic possibility.

When you are younger, you have a lot of burdens on your shoulders. Never mind what the adults say. They don’t know better. Their generation and yours of today is a seismic shift. I mean, social media and self-driving cars? Really? During their time they had manual cars that are now rarer to sight than the endangered Hornbill in Singapore. Juggling academics and your lofty ambitions is tough to manage. It doesn’t help now that Social Media has become an increasing source of stress for teenagers since they actually have everyone to compare to. This multiple-pronged stress may actually sometimes result in our stubborn determination, which isn’t bad. However, it becomes bad when you just don’t know when to quit.

Don’t give up, they said.

Indeed, this adage is true. Don’t give up. I mean, if the going gets tough and you just decide to throw in the towel then you are not determined enough, or maybe you’re just not hungry enough for what you want. I see the logic in that statement, and it holds true. Things are going to be difficult, and it would be unwise to just give up when we come across a stumbling block. As my core idea statement (as above), it is unwise to not give up sometimes.

I say this because sometimes we pursue endeavours that are truly not suitable for us and our characteristics. Let’s think about it this way: If a person has absolutely no musical inclination to sing, but insists on becoming a full-time singer, then chances are things might not work out well. I mean, if their voice is really glass-shattering, I personally think it would be wise to forgo that endeavour. Knowing your talents and what you can use them for is an important factor to consider before pursuing a project all the way.

So when it comes to learning a skill or pursuing a job, when should I actually give up?

Okay, let’s take one step back and reassess your strengths. From your own perspective, figure out what you are good at (from results, not from your own hunches). Thereafter, get a second perspective from those around you. In this assessment, it is good to get unbiased opinions.

After, think about the trajectory you wish to pursue. Think about the factors that make a job whole to you. Is it money, fame, fulfilment or just having a nice balance of everything? This differs from everyone so it would be wise to really ask yourself this and not seek the opinions of others. If you are unsure about what to do and what you actually want, you can consider the factors that may actually affect your judgement. This can be things like having low-confidence or just genuine lack of exposure. It is important then to figure out the problems that you have, and whether they are interfering with your work. Once you got that out of the way, it is time to start crafting plans on how you can progress.

When it comes to applying for a job, I believe in the gradual diversifying of skills, but from the same vein. Which means simply to extend your knowledge on the topics that you are already good at. For instance, if I wish to pursue a career in marketing and specialise in that, I can also try out careers or internships in businesses even if it does not build up my marketing portfolio. Having a separate set of skills builds what I like to call “consumer empathy”, which is really a cheesy way of knowing what your audience (and boss) wants. Diversifying is also beneficial because it helps you to develop the skills you already have, and allows you to acquire mastery quicker. Time saved is important, no matter how young you are. To the main point, you can draw on various job experiences through shadowing or short-term internships. It would also be wise to seek some form of career guidance from people in those roles, rather than from shows. Shows tend to portray a very romanticised version of a job (many students said they want to be lawyers because of the hit American show Suits. Many lawyers have said that it isn’t as glamorous as it seems).

Now, here’s the hard part. Identifying when it actually isn’t for you. As mentioned above, there is a set of criterias that you need to decide on before you begin. (I’m referring to your strengths and what makes a job whole to you.) If your job is unable to touch on your strengths and needs, and after several setbacks, it would be wise to put the endeavour behind you. Drawing back on to the singing example in the previous section, if you are not made for singing, no matter how much you practice, you will not be able to define yourself from the rest.

You have your whole life ahead of you and it is tiring to fret about issues like this. Nevertheless, worrying comes from a place of maturity sometimes, and that’s important. Speak to us if you ever need help!

Like our page and let us know if you have any other factors you use to give up on any other endeavour. Stay tuned for more!


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