For me, ‘giving up’ usually meant stopping before a task was completed. As I have observed myself over the years I started to realize that I gave up just before the task or project is completed. Only another few minutes/hours/days/words/whatever and the work would have been done.
Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever ‘given up’ just before the finish line? Frustrating, isn’t it?
Conventional wisdom says we give up before it’s over is because we focus on how far we still have to go instead of how far we’ve already come. That’s because we CAN see the finish line and our lizard brain (aka the amygdala) kicks in and gives us thousands of reasons for not finishing .
The lizard brain comes up with every excuse and idea to tell us that if we cross that finish line, we might fail, or be wrong, or be made fun of. Stephen Pressfield, in his book, The War of Art, calls the lizard’s brain antics, ‘resistance’. That resistance gains momentum as we get closer; closer to the answers, to the insights, closer to our project or task deadline – closer to the finish line.
So what can we do? How do we learn ways to quieten and ignore the lizard brain? How do we learn to cross the finish line with the same energy we put into getting so close? How do we learn to stop saying, ‘I GIVE UP!’
First, we have to recognize and realize when our lizard brain kicks in. It’s the brain that says, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I did better yesterday (or last week)’, ‘don’t do that because people might laugh at you’, and the infamous, ‘if you cross that finish line you won’t succeed and then what will you do?’
Once we recognize the lizard brain in action we must stop and celebrate how far we HAVE come with that project or task (I like to celebrate milestones along the way rather than wait for lizard brain to kick in and slow me down). Then it’s one step at a time until you cross the finish line.Then, when the project or task is completed, another celebration is due.
Every time we celebrate, every time we fight the fear, every time we don’t give up, the lizard brain has less to talk to us about. The result? We get our projects/tasks completed on time.
When we accomplish our projects or activities on time, we can rest assured we’re getting paid to pay attention.
PS Part 2 will show you how to use ‘I GIVE UP!’ in a positive way.