Persistence is important to achieve success, but giving up is also important. I’ve written about persistence before, so here I want to look at giving up.
Why is it essential? Why is it necessary to give up? Because it allows you to focus your energy on the few things that are truly important. By giving up, you:
- Stop unfruitful effort. What’s the point of spending your time and energy on something that doesn’t work? The more you spend your time and energy there, the more you waste your resources.
- Avoid spreading yourself too thin. There are probably many things that you want to achieve. But you can’t achieve everything you want. Your resources are limited so you need to choose and prioritize. If you try to do too many things at once you will end up achieving nothing.
- Reduce your stress. Pursuing too many things means giving yourself unnecessary pressure. Don’t let your ambition stop you from enjoying your life.
- Free up time for your loved ones. Don’t be so busy that you don’t have time for your loved ones. By giving up, you ease your burden and free up time to build meaningful relationships.
In essence, here is what you need to do:
Give up the less important things so that you can focus and persist on the few important ones.
Here are several tips to help you apply it:
1. Find what matters to you
You need a way to know whether or not something is important. That’s why you need to find what matters to you. What makes you feel fulfilled? What gives you inner satisfaction? Be persistent on things that matter to you and give up the others.
2. Assess your life every now and then
Even if you already find what matters to you, the busyness of life can obscure it. As a result, you might get distracted by superficial things. So find time to reflect on your life every now and then. Look at how your life is going. Are you staying true to what your heart is saying?
3. Learn to let go
You may know that you need to give up something, but it might not be easy to let it go. This is especially true if you already spend a lot of resources on it.
This is where the concept of sunk costs is helpful. Don’t get caught in sunk cost bias. The fact that you’ve spent your resources on the wrong thing doesn’t justify spending even more resources on it. Those resources are already spent. Now you need to find the best way to spend the resources that are left.
The concept of opportunity costs may also be helpful. Holding on the wrong thing means losing better opportunities. The more resources you spend on it, the more opportunities you lose.
4. Refocus your effort
Once you’ve given up the less important things, renew your focus and effort on the few important ones. Now that you are focused, you have a chance to make a real difference.
Photo by Japokskee