Never Give Up Too Soon.
I first came to find the phrase, ‘never give up’ common when I was very new in secondary school. At that point, I didn’t quite clearly understand what it meant simply because I wasn’t ambitious enough I suppose. Besides, things seemed to move by smoothly and we could always get our way around with issues.
Having grown up in the village wasn’t though, especially in my childhood days. We ate, we played, we schooled and we grazed animals. That was all we did. In the school I went to, the competition wasn’t stiff until when I was almost doing my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE). But still, then, our world was all around us.
So, in secondary school, after my first term exams, I realized I wasn’t smart as I thought. I was floored by even those students who reported to school later than I did. I then realized my approach to studies was either unique or I was simply giving up on education altogether. Nevertheless, I struggled within that year and made it to form two.
I don’t know what happened at that point but I remember trying my level best and improving drastically going forward. And just like that, I finished my secondary education and joined a university. Interestingly enough, I joined a university in the city of Nairobi, a very new environment for me but one I was ready to conquer. Through those levels and later in life, I have come to learn firsthand what it means not to give up.
When I decided to run for office while in college for the student council body, I thought I was going to sail through easily. I drew my plan and strategy which to me appeared very exemplary. I now look back and see how wrong I was especially in terms of giving up too soon.
In the back of my mind, I knew money ruled the underworld of campus politics. I didn’t have enough of that after failing to raise enough campaign funding. And just like that, I announced my stepping down from the race although I was a bit late because ballot papers had been printed and like that, I still found myself on the ballot papers.
In the end, I voted for myself and others who believed in me voted for me as well. It was after that that I discovered I gave up way too early. I only needed to convince people that I could deliver. Irrespective of the money factor, that is all I needed. That gave me the greatest lesson in life on why I should not give up whatsoever in my pursuits. It is only a matter of time before things fall into place. All in all, confidence is supreme.
This thing repeated itself last week on Monday and is the very reason I am writing this. I woke up and picked a few materials from town to go try and make something I thought was cool. I had read about the manufacturing process for some time preceding this day and I was sure it would work perfectly right or so I believed.
When we embarked on the manufacturing process with my friend, we decided to give it the approach we presumed could give us the best outcome. A few minutes into the process, we were giving up because things didn’t seem to work. We decided to start again on a new process we researched on that day. But something in me told me to try and go on with the first process. After all, nobody ever died for failing severally.
Funny enough, the second path took us to the destination very quickly despite the quality of work being a bit different from what we exactly could have wished for. But as I struggled with the first process to try and prove to myself that it could work, I kept giving up all the time. Importantly though, I held my guns up and just kept going. At the end of a long time that looked like an eternity, what we started by believing won’t work, ended up working too fine.
As I looked back after the process was done, I, in a way understood the need to give up too soon. You can imagine what Thomas Edison went through when trying the one thousand failed experiments while coming up with the light bulb as it is believed. Comparing that with how soon some of us give up in our endeavors and we compare to jokers. I say this with authority, given the facts and experience, that it takes very long to achieve mastery.
Robert Green in his book Mastery agrees as such. He notes that it takes about ten thousand active hours for one to master a discipline. This means that you are super lucky if you try an entrepreneurial journey and succeed on your first attempt. I learned this when I went digging into how old some of our favorite brands are. Be sure they were not started yesterday. Most of them struggled a long time ago even before our grandfathers were born.
So, as long as you believe in the course you are traveling or the path you decide to traverse, it will need a lot of stamina and patience for you to hold on to the very end. The only thing I have come to be sure of is that no one ever regretted not giving up. Many succeeded and the few who didn’t learned invaluable lessons.
Giving up without a fight is the highest level of mediocrity and is as good as accepting being a loser.