The Value of Giving Up

I passed a man in an alley who was standing in front of a brick wall, slowly beating his head against it. His forehead was bloody, and it was clear he was in lots of pain.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

*thump* “I need to get through this wall,” he told me. *thump*

“Dude! You’re hurting yourself!” I said.

*thump* “I know.” *thump* “But I mustn’t-” *thump* “-give up.” *thump*



I’ve grown up with the mantra of “don’t give up” and it works really well for many situations. Sometimes I have needed to hold course and endure.

And sometimes I’ve found myself in a cul-de-sac, and I’ve worked and worked and worked, and haven’t moved. And in those times I needed to stop, and climb out.

This has been true for personal relationships and professional jobs. Enduring has been causing me more harm than walking away.

The question is: how do I recognise the difference between the thing I should endure and the thing I need to give up?

Sometimes, it’s not a matter of giving up entirely. Sometimes, I might just need to rethink my approach.

Recognise that I might be using my head the wrong way to get through a brick wall.

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