Why You Should Give Up

Kristof Hemstad, Author

You should probably give up. Here’s why.

For good reasons our culture romanticizes perseverance. After all, how would we ever get anything done if you did not persevere? How could those who are heavily invested in our economy find new workers?

Phrases like “hustle” and “never give up!” are pretty common, and yet toxic. Social media is rife with supposedly successful entrepreneurs who say things like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Even movies and books idealize characters overcoming setbacks by not allowing themselves to give up when faced with them.

However, by persevering, we develop a need for certainty. We are comforted by not giving up and persevering and so we idealize perseverance and continuously make an effort to do so without considering the impact of never-ending stress on our system and embrace an alternative ideal. As a result of our need for certainty, we must have control and fixed answers in our lives, and we become upset when we do not have them.

I argue that we must give up on certainty. If we choose to give up certainty, we may find we are no longer so anxious and bothered by our uncertain and confusing lives. In turn, this will allow us to pursue opportunities in our lives naturally, later giving up on them freely. This is better than the alternative of being stuck following an arbitrary set of goals imposed on us by refusing to give up.

I originally planned on doing interviews for this article, but later gave up. The people I intended to interview were all busy with classes or otherwise absent. I realized it would only get in the way of my ability to freely pursue opportunities in my life to continuously make an effort to get interviews. As this is an opinion piece, my need to show balance like all good journalists do, is not needed here.

To summarize, you should give up  on things in your life that demand too much certainty from you. This is because demanding certainty by not giving up is holding you back from simply being who you are meant to be. In particular, you should give up on things that are either simply arbitrary or getting in the way of your ability to naturally follow opportunities.