Never, Ever Give Up: Having the Courage to Start Over Again

a lone tree growing off the top of a bare cliff
Image by jason lawrence 


Narrated by Marie T. Russell. 

Video version

Never give up on what you really want to do. 
The person with big dreams is more powerful

than one with all the facts.
                                                              — ALBERT EINSTEIN

If you continue to build courage throughout your life and take each next step with grit, determination and a knowledge that failures along the way are part of the process, you will eventually come out on the other side successful.

A few years ago, National Geographic came out with a documentary following the courageous exploits of Alex Honnold, a professional mountain climber and a man of incredible courage and resilience. This documentary, called Free Solo, details Honnold’s relentless preparation in his superhuman attempt to conquer something that had never been accomplished before—scaling the sheer, 900-meter granite rock face of Yosemite’s El Capitan without the help of ropes or other safety climbing gear.

The documentary is a fascinating, inspiring and even terrifying study of one man’s dogged determination to use his expertise and push his physical limits to the breaking point in the pursuit of a goal that has consumed him for years. Watching Honnold in this documentary epitomizes the “never, ever give up” message in this chapter, as he prepares himself relentlessly for the attempt and is turned back on his first try. Watching him regroup and summon the physical and mental stamina to make a second, successful attempt is both harrowing and, ultimately, amazing.

Knowing When To Pivot

Although I’m a huge believer in never giving up, I also know it doesn’t necessarily mean climbing blindly up a mountain and never looking around to see what’s happening. Before he ever attempted to scale El Capitan without safety gear, Honnold spent hours, days, and even weeks on the rock face of the obstacle with his fellow climbers. He carefully mapped out his route, writing down his observations in his strategy journal and considering even the smallest details before he set out to try. But despite months of intensive physical and mental preparation and a detailed execution plan, he had to come off the mountain in the early stages of his first attempt.

He had to consider all of the potential factors that he would face on his climb. The same is true when we consider the path we’re taking toward reaching our own goals. Is there a potential personal or professional storm ahead? Are there any factors that constitute a steep drop-off you need to avoid at all costs? Do you have a clear picture of every financial consideration to factor in along the way? These are some of the variables that are important to consider as you move along your journey.

We can all expect to struggle at times. But disappointment is also our greatest teacher, so it is important to stop and evaluate challenges during those times to ensure we are still chasing the right objectives—and that we are still on the right path.

Part of our opportunity in life is being able to learn from the obstacles we encounter and evaluate when to pivot along the way, gathering important feedback to inform the journey to our ultimate goal. We may even find that our goal needs to change as we learn more during our journey.

As Honnold discovered, you may find you have to go down in order to go up again, and you’ll have to be willing to make those course corrections along the way. The end goal you ultimately achieve may look a bit different from the original vision you laid out when you first started your process. But, like Honnold proved, ultimate success combines knowing when to pivot with a “never give up” commitment. This is all part of growing and learning to not just “throw in the towel” when times get tough. There is a way to get there, find it!

Tying It All Together

Each chapter I have presented in this book—winning the battle in your head, finding a passion, dreaming big, finding a mentor, taking action, failing often and being courageous—are ladder steps to this chapter. Each step is designed to lay the foundation for the steps that follow and to provide a simple, overall framework for you to move forward with the vision, knowledge and encouragement to truly never, ever give up, despite the certain difficulties or setbacks.

My Story

Being enrolled in the DePauw University honors business program meant that I had the tremendous opportunity to take part in a paid, semester-long business internship during my junior year. In order to participate in this program, I had to maintain a minimum GPA—a requirement that I didn’t always achieve.

At the end of my sophomore year, I received a letter from the program letting me know that because my grades had fallen below the minimum threshold, I was now on probation and would be unable to take part in the prestigious internship program during my junior year. This meant that at best, if my grades improved over the next year and I was taken off probation, I would have to pursue an internship during my senior year. Being off campus during my final year of college was something I definitely wanted to avoid.

I sent a letter to the program and appealed their decision. I was eventually granted a hearing with the board and went before the program leaders, the professors and the director of the program. I presented my case, listened to their feedback, answered their questions and, after much deliberation, they agreed that, if my grades improved by the end of fall midterms, I could then interview for any spring-semester internships that might still be available.

However, I really wanted to work with David Morehead, a successful entrepreneur in Dallas, Texas from whom I thought I could learn a great deal about starting and leading a business. Unfortunately, David was visiting my school to interview candidates in September, which was well before I could prove my midterm grades and officially interview for any potential internships. So, before his visit, I wrote him a long, handwritten letter explaining my probationary status but emphasizing why I really wanted to intern with him specifically. I told him that, although I wasn’t eligible to interview, I would love the opportunity to meet him during his visit if he was willing.

As a result of that personal letter, he said, “I need to meet this kid.” While David was on campus, he arranged to meet me for an interview anyway, which eventually led to him offering me an internship (subject to me getting my grades up, of course).

David went on to become a lifelong mentor and champion.

Appearing in front of the board, advocating for myself and pursuing an interview with David is clearly not as extreme as an El Capitan experience. However, it is just one, simple but powerful example of how persistence, never giving up and finding a different path can pay off in the short and long term.

You know what happens when you simply give up and walk away. That’s obvious. But you never know all the positive things that might happen when you simply decide to never, ever give up.

Your Turn

Is there a place in your life today where you feel you are stuck or want to give up? Think about that area and take the time to journal about it.

Areas I’m stuck:

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Is there anything you have learned that can inform your next steps for moving forward in these situations? Do you need to pivot, as I did when my grades slipped in college?

Get creative in thinking about ways you can use what you’ve learned so far to not give up and to keep moving toward your goals.

Learning and opportunities to pivot:

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Action Steps

Rather than simply giving up on a goal, how can you re-strategize and find a different path?

List ideas you have to find inspiration for staying on track during tough times or when facing difficult obstacles. Think about how you might be able to pivot and discover new ways to approach those obstacles so they feel more surmountable.

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Find your own inspiration for never giving up. Study other people’s stories of overcoming long odds to achieve their dreams. What about them and their experience might help you keep going?

 * * * * *

Dig Deeper - Resources

READ:

  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  • Superbetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient—Powered by the Science of Games by Jane McGonigal. Also check out her TED talk and corresponding smartphone app.
  • The Resilience Breakthrough: 27 Tools for Turning Adversity into Action by Christian Moore
  • Executive Thinking: The Dream, the Vision, the Mission Achieved by Leslie L. Kossoff
  • Endurance: Shackelton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. How all 28 crew members survive a two-year ordeal after being shipwrecked In Antarctica.

LISTEN:

  • Road to Resilience by Mount Sinai Health System— The Power of Optimism
  • How I Built This with Guy Raz—Outdoor Voices: Tyler Haney
  • How I Built This with Guy Raz “How I Built Resilience” Series. Guy talks with founders and entrepreneurs about how they navigate the COVID turbulent times.

WATCH:

  • Free Solo—National Geographic documentary. Get ready for a breathtaking experience!
  • Rudy. Rudy had always been told that he was too small and not talented enough to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame.
  • The Pursuit of Happyness. This compelling autobiographical film follows entrepreneur Chris Gardener’s journey from homelessness to success in the financial industry.
  • Overcoming Hopelessness | Nick Vujicic—TEDxNoviSad
  • Sheryl Sandberg’s 2016 commencement address at UC Berkeley


For what it’s worth . . . it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the
courage to start over again.

— F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

©2020 by Peter Ruppert. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the author.
Publisher : Credo House Publishers

Article Source

Limitless: Nine Steps to Launch Your One Extraordinary Life
by Peter G. Ruppert

book cover: Limitless: Nine Steps to Launch Your One Extraordinary Life by Peter G. RuppertThis book was written for those, young and old, who simply don’t want to settle for the status quo or for “good enough” and have dreams they want to chase, not give up on. Based on research of accomplished people and his own personal experiences of successes and failures, Peter G. Ruppert provides a step-by-step guide to help readers positively impact the trajectory of their own future. Filled with real life examples for each step, extra learning resources to dig deeper, and a workbook style recap after each chapter, Peter Ruppert provides a simple yet powerful program so readers can launch their own limitless life.

 For more info and/or to order this book, click here. Also available as an Audiobook and a Kindle edition.

About The Author

photo of Peter RuppertPeter Ruppert is founder and CEO of i-Education Group, which operates over 75 Fusion and Futures Academies for grades 6-12 in one student, one teacher classroom environments. A 20-year veteran of the education industry, he’s opened over 100 schools and acquired more than 25 others. He’s been president and CEO of organizations in the private school, charter school, and early education industries, and sat on his local public school board for 5 years. He lives with his family in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Learn more at https://peteruppert.com/ 
 


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