Remember: Giving Up Is A Choice

Editor’s Note: Hey readers, I’m not feeling well, so please enjoy a C2C classic while I get better. Thank you. (The original version of this article was first posted on the C2C in 2010.)

So Ch. 4 is going well, my novel is going smoothly. I’m happy and getting happier with it, and (as an extension of the novel) I am also content with how this blog is turning out and how people have been receiving it. I would have never imagined people from half-way around the world would be reading what I wrote and would care at all about what I had to say! Mind-blowing. But that’s the power of the internet.

But something other than my writing has been gnawing at me, and I don’t know where else to process it other than here. Although writing is going well, the rest of my life isn’t. It’s downright pathetic actually. These past two years have brought a whirlwind of unexpected challenges, each of which I am no sure I have conquered, but simply, endured. I’ve managed to get by. After every wave has hit me to the ground, I’ve managed to get back up again, only to be pushed back down again.

Certain hopes I had were dashed to pieces, and people I thought I knew and cared about, suddenly up and left–a revolving door of great expectations, that never exited the building to meet up with me. I tried to toughen it all up. Build up great walls. But that didn’t work. Then I opened myself up, wrote it all out, cried it all out. That helped. I have managed to try to find a way every time, to avoid what I think would be the worst move, which is to give up completely. I’m no fan of giving up, and I have always been one to finish what I have started. I set a goal and I meet it. But life often doesn’t go by the rules, does it? Your most detailed plans for yourself can be subverted, undermined, expunged. This week I found myself seriously considering giving up, in more than one aspect of my personal life. Trust me, I have tried. I have read every self-help book I could. I meditate. I keep a journal. I have talked to friends and family about it.

My life has become a crazy balancing act, where one challenge goes away, and as soon as it does, another comes that needs my attention. There has been no time to rest, no time to asses, no time to reboot the system. There’s the constant stress and anxiety and stress of–all right, all right–ENOUGH ALREADY!  When’s the next thing? What else do I gotta deal with? What else needs my urgent attention? How much harder do I have to work? How much thinking must I do? And yet with all that, it never seems like enough.

I’ve been told that my life had been on the “fast-track” and now I’ve hit a rough patch. That part of life where no, not everything turns out the way you want it. So what do I do?

I turn to this blog, and more so to my novel. And in that novel (call me I child, I could care less anymore) I have all the control in the world. I know that in my story all the scary monsters aren’t real, and pose no real threat. I know I have control over everything that happens. I know that if I want, I can guarantee a happy ending. There I sit with the words, and I can be incredibly happy and excited to see what great adventures and characters my character will encounter next. My novel is my only sanctuary at the moment, the only thing that feels right, the only thing that is going right.

With my novel, time stops. The people around me go out of focus. For a moment, life is infinite. For a moment all the problems go away. The world is content, and I can bat away all the thoughts that say I’m not fit enough for the cover of Men’s Fitness, I’m not going to get that wedding kiss at the end of every romantic comedy, I’m no overnight success like the guest on this week’s Oprah. I can only dream about a house on a hill.

Remember: Giving Up Is A Choice

With all of this, I was about to give up. But I didn’t. Because I realized something:  giving up is a choice.

Did you know that Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC and creator of its original recipe, was rejected 1,009 times before he was able to sell his original recipe to a restaurant? You know what happened after that. Do you know that Walt Disney was rejected 302 times before any bank would fund his silly idea to create an amusement park in the middle of Anaheim, California? You know what happened after that.

These are business men, but the lesson stills stands. These men chose not to give up. Anyone else would have seen all of those losses, as losses. Proof that The Giving Up had got to them. But I think both Sanders and Disney realized for themselves that The Giving Up is not something that could get to them, it was something that they would have to choose to accept, and so they simply chose not to accept it. You can can choose to see your setbacks as setbacks, or you can refuse to see them as such. That’s sounds like insanity, but I’m not sure you can call Walt Disney insane.

So has The Giving Up gotten to me? Not this time. Because I was able to understand that giving up was a choice. I hope to keep on reminding myself about this truth as I go forward, yet again.

Wish me luck.

much love,


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25 comments on “Remember: Giving Up Is A Choice

  1. Michelle says: up is a choice. I needed that reminder today. Sending you healing energy and pray you feel better quickly!

  2. Christina says:

    Feel better:)

    I had an awful cold for most of November.

  3. Catherine Johnson says:

    Get well soon, Ollin!

  4. ceciliag says:

    hope you are feeling better soon and I hope that you have stood up and chosen to shake yourself like a wet dog and dance back into the wind since you wrote this.. rock on brother!! c

    • Ollin says:

      Thank you cecilia! Yes, this was nearly two years ago now. I learned how to overcome those challenges. In fact, if you go back and read the archives from the beginning you’ll see how I did that. Thanks for the kind words! Loved that metaphor!

  5. Nura Simza says:

    I truly wish I could find or remember where I heard this – it’s just one of those statements that has stuck in my mind. It’s sentiment has propelled me through all the health and other setbacks of these last 6 months… Anywhere here it is: “Giving up and settling will NEVER get you what you deserve after fighting so hard.”

    It’s hard to keep going – but what else is there to do?

    • Ollin says:

      Well, I think giving up is an option for some. They simply do not try anymore. They’re kinda in a vegetation state. But that is a very unflattering rode to travel on. But this was nearly two years ago, and I found the courage to get back up again, thank god.

      Thanks for sharing that quote! Very true.

  6. JostWrite says:

    I really hope you feel better soon. I am going to be a regular on your blog, because you speak from the heart. Thanks for opening up your heart and challenges. We can all learn from it. Here is a “Get well soon” hug from me to you.

  7. Giving up is a choice. But if we make things too hard for ourselves, then it can seem like the best choice. The solution for me this year has been to set reasonable goals, so that I can achieve them, and then overachieve them. Now giving up is no longer a likely option, because I am achieving modest goals, and as these become habits, I can extend the goals. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

    • Ollin says:

      Great advice, Robert! In fact that is crucial advice and I hope everyone reads it. We do need to set simple, small, achievable goals for ourselves. Big sweeping goals are great too, but they only pressure us in the short term. It’s better to set that big goal, forget about it, then just focus on the details.

      Thanks Robert!

  8. krpooler says:

    Dear Ollin,

    Sorry you don’t feel well-Ugh! But even from your sick bed you are sharing important messages right from the heart, as Josh says above! We all need to hear that when we have inevitable challenges in our life ,we also have choices. That is so empowering and a great reminder to take each challenge as a lesson on how we can get better.

    Take good care of yourself and feel better soon!

    • Ollin says:

      I am better! Thank you Kathleen. Yes, as you said in your guest post, reminding yourself of your choices will help us all avoid becoming bitter and jaded in the end. Thank you.

  9. You and your blog are very inspirational. You do touch a lot of lives in a positive and supportive way – including mine. Thanks for your comments about my blog which is nearly 3 months old.
    I hope that when you’re feeling down, you look at the Ted video on Louie Schwartzberg.
    In the video, Louie Schwartzberg talks about a project he’s working on, “Happiness Revealed.” It includes an interview about life with an older man who says: “”If you learn to respond as if it were the first day of your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.”
    From your comments, I believe that is how you approach life. Have a great day and a wonderful year ahead.

  10. Lynne Spreen says:

    Ollin, I don’t know if your angst is caused by illness, rejection of your art, family drama, the holidays in general, or existential pain (or all of the above), but I wish you the fortitude to continue moving forward. Did you ever read Kitchen Table Wisdom?

    It’s an old book (97) that’s been revised (I haven’t read the update) but it’s a collection of stories about people who are finding meaning and strength and comfort in spite of some pretty tough stuff. Told by a woman, a doctor, who has had her own challenges. She reminds me of a cross between Archie Panjabi and Deanna Troi. You might find it a source of strength. I wish you well.

    • Ollin says:

      Hey Lynne,

      Thank you. As noted at the top of the post this is a re-run post. I was not feeling well on Friday, and I usually have some back up posts that are ready to be scheduled in case I need a break.

      This post was prescheduled because it has I think a wonderful lesson about giving up which is one of the most important lessons I learned my first year of the C2C.

      But that was nearly two years ago and I have moved past these obstacles. But thank you anyway for recommending this book. I will put it on my book list and I am sure it will be helpful for my readers as well.

      I’ll be back with brand new posts tomorrow. Thanks!

  11. m5terkoma says:

    i thinks, you’re right. give up is a choice… but, As I also have such kind of situation like you…. I prove to my self that I have to pass the problem that I face… the reason is that I believes about something like problem that always come to me, will make something more treasure in future.. Now, I often to thinks that I like to face a problem,,, because I could learn something from that…. Life is choice, whether we want to take all the risk which make us strong or not? it depends on our self…

  12. bpchcaroline says:

    Well, I must say, life certainly has a way of pointing us in the right direction. I am a writer as well and I have been “trying” to finish a memoir/Creative Non-fiction book for the past 7 years. I do not know what is holding me back, but I keep going back to it every so often. It has been on my mind like the drill of a brain surgeon a lot lately. Every morning, I have my time where I meditate and journal. I also personally do divination, because it helps guide me. So this morning, that is all I got, basically what you were saying about giving up, plus looking inside. Contemplating where I am in my life right now and here you are talking about basically the same thing. I am not in a position to give up, that is one thing I don’t do. Oh I may threaten it, a lot, but I never have. Life only throws you these curves so you can work through them, make your mistakes (or not) and learn from them. It only makes us stronger and more able to get through the next ball the universe throws at us. My boyfriend uses an analogy about a mountain, where we are traveling around the mountain on a path, always moving up towards the top. But what happens is that at times in our lives we go to the back side of the mountain where the sun isn’t shining (for the moment), but, he says, as long as you keep walking your path, you will eventually come back around to the side of the mountain where the sun is shining. The first time I heard that I was floored. It was beautiful and made so much sense. Always remember that no matter how dark things seem, there is always light. We live in a world of dualities and you can’t have one without the other. Keep going on your path, don’t stop, the higher you climb, the stronger you will get. When you don’t give up and you reach the pinnacle of the mountain, guess what, the sun is always shining. On the way, look for those little glimpses of light through the trees. You will get there, where ever that is, we will all get there. Check out my blog when you get a chance. Let go and let God. Always, Caroline

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