This post is an interesting one, I'll admit when I sat down to write it I wasn't entirely sure of the outcome and whether or not there was actually a point to what I imagined was going to end up on the page (so to speak). However an interesting thing happened as I started to formulate things in my head and I did a little research into the topic, the overall tone of the message changed quite dramatically (along with my mood) and it soon became clear what the point was.
So read on to see where I started and find out where I ended up…
Where it started: Bravery vs Insanity
I had a frustrating week, it started well but as is sometimes the case it didn't continue like I had hoped and by the weekend, which should have been the point at which I was enjoying some well earned time off, I found myself in a bit of a slump.
I hadn't achieved what I wanted to in my business activities, my diet had gone all to sh*t and as a result I found myself in a pretty foul mood and little things were really winding me up, even when I rationally knew that none of these things really mattered.
Worst of all I could feel myself influencing others with my mood and it all having a negative effect on the time I was spending with my kids, which only served to make me feel more like crap and so on, and so on.
So, I sat down at the computer, came up with the title of this post and was all ready for a pretty spectacular, yet unproductive rant.
At the crux of the (original) thinking was the idea of highlighting the juxtaposition of a couple of common sayings or ways of thinking that were complete contradictions of one another.
These were the whole “winners never quit/just keep swimming” way of thinking vs the “doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result” definition of insanity, both of which you've probably come across before in your entrepreneurial travels.
After all, many mentors or trainers or product owners will harp on about needing just keep trying, grit your teeth and stick with the program and you'll be successful etc etc. Now don't get me wrong, I can see where people are coming from and in the majority of cases, when it comes to anything worth doing, the idea of keeping at it and working towards a goal makes perfect sense.
But as I mentioned I was not having a good week… so the other side of the argument was hitting me pretty hard. Am I insane? I mean I've spent years trying to develop what I would define as a “successful business”, I've tried many things and a lot of the time failed to achieve what was promised (or what I thought was promised), so the insanity argument was ringing true in many ways.
And the problem was, even as I thought about writing this post from that angle, I couldn't really see a definitive answer.
And that was about where things were going to end, which didn't really match up with what I am trying to achieve… so that kinda sucked.
Where I ended up: Inspiration and determination
Like I said earlier, this post was originally shaping up to be me venting all over the internet about how I'd had a bad week and felt like crap, blah, blah, blah… but thankfully that's not where it's ended up.
I'm not 100% sure when it changed course, but I'm thankful it did as the act of putting these words out here for you to read is proving to be incredibly positive for me and I hope it can help you too.
I will say that it was the act of doing a little research that things took a turn for the better and I discovered some fantastic, motivational content that helped to put my issues into context and really shift me back into a positive mindset.
These stories also gave this post a purpose, an outcome that I wanted to share and one that I could see having a positive effect on others, rather than something that would have ultimately been negative and potentially harmful for someone in the wrong frame of mind.
Rather than having no ending, I now have a story to tell that shares how I've been able to switch from feeling truly awful to literally smiling as I sit here typing these words and being in a position to finish up my day enjoying putting my kids to bed and looking forward to tomorrow.
It's a strange feeling, knowing that just minutes ago I was on a path far different to this one and it just goes to show how powerful the commitment to help and share with others can be.
After all if I hadn't decided to create this site and provide a service to you the reader, I wouldn't have found myself with an outlet through which to share this (initially negative) story, so I would never have started my research into how I could frame it, which in turn wouldn't have lead to this more positive outcome.
So I guess you could say that the act of questioning my commitment has only served to reinforce it!
So, what changed my mindset?
A few different things actually, some of which I will include here, others I will link off to so you can explore them yourselves.
Let's start with a couple of examples of struggle and success that helped:
- Walt Disney – Fired from one of his earliest jobs working for a newspaper for lacking creativity and having no good ideas, Walt Disney’s empire did not come easy. Disney faced ridicule, rejection and bankruptcy before he managed to create all of the childhood characters that we grew to love. He took chances and believed in himself and his work. He never gave up on Mickey Mouse and he never gave up on Disneyland. When he first proposed his idea for a new theme park, the city of Anaheim rejected his idea because they felt the concept was cheap and that it would only attract people of a low social status. What about now? Last year, The Walt Disney Company raked in $42.2 billion in revenue. [Reproduced from Quotivee]
- J.K. Rowling – J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter novels was waitressing and on public assistance when she was writing the first installment of what would become one of the best selling series in history. The book was rejected by a dozen publishers. The only reason it got published at all was because the CEO's eight year old daughter begged him to publish it. [Reproduced from Breaking Muscle]
Then there were some excellent stories that put things into a different perspective, one of which was really relevant (based on how my week had gone and also for how you can deal with frustration or disappointment):
The Weight of the Glass
Once upon a time a psychology professor walked around on a stage while teaching stress management principles to an auditorium filled with students. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical “glass half empty or glass half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, the professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”
Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple pounds.
She replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”
As the class shook their heads in agreement, she continued, “Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.”
The moral: It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses and worries. No matter what happens during the day, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the night and into the next day with you. If you still feel the weight of yesterday’s stress, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to put the glass down.Mack and Angel: Hack Life
I found this story, along with a few others which I'd recommend you take a look at over on Marc and Angel: Hack Life.
And lastly, there was an excellent article about Ellen DeGeneres in relation to her character of Dory in Finding Nemo; how the role came along at a particular time in her life and why “Just keep swimming” is very relevant:
Go check them all out, especially if you're having a bad day, they certainly helped me.
Believe me when I say this post had very chance of turning out much differently and in all likelihood it wouldn't have provided much value to your or anyone else for that matter (assuming you found it useful of course), let alone me.
But I'd like to think that the process of creating the article and in turn sharing that process with you has helped to turn this into something that will provide you with value when it comes to making your own decision about whether you should stick with something or quit and do something else.
I hope that you find the stories I provided and linked to inspiring, I'd suggest bookmarking these and others so that if you ever find yourself feeling unsure or frustrated about your progress and you're considering giving up you can read them again to help remind yourself why you began this journey in the first place.
As for the question that is the title of this article? Well, I think that's something that's down to the individual… but what I can say is that once you've made a commitment to yourself to change your life there'd better be a pretty good reason why you'd give up on that.
Oh, and it's never a good idea to make a decision like that when you've had a bad week or you're feeling frustrated as it's highly unlikely you'll be subjective, so if you are thinking of making a change or evaluating your business, take a couple of days before you make a final decision, it'll be worth it.
Until next time.