For more than half of my life, writing has been my dream, and being a best-selling author became my goal. As of yet, I’m not a best seller, but I’m still a writer and self-published author, and I have a real strong love for writing. But every now and then, I think about just quitting and not trying to become a best-seller.
Have you ever felt that way about some goal or important activity in your life? In this article, I share what it’s like to feel defeat, and how I resist the urge to give up on my dreams and goals.
Feelings of Defeat
The beginning of my writing career included blogging, ghost writing, and getting paid for web articles (all of which I still enjoy doing). When I began self-publishing my own ebooks several years ago, I was suddenly in love with another aspect of online writing. I eventually self-published my first novel and mistakenly believed I was on my way to becoming a best-selling author. WRONG!
For a number of different reasons, (related to the book, the promotion and the marketing), I was really on my way to becoming a former author. After months of trying endless online activities to gain visibility, I failed to get more than 5 book reviews. I felt defeated. Needless to say, I had the urge to give up.
Prior to being an author, I had suffered previous let downs in the past when it came to my online writing. But those setbacks were nothing compared to the huge letdown that I felt following the release of my first novel. Now; several years, multiple ebooks, and two additional novels later, I’m still undiscovered. And yes, I’m still striving to become a best-selling author one day, and receive tons of highly coveted reviews.
I know my struggles and career challenges are probably no different from thousands of other writers and people in general. In fact, my situation is about as common as the 10 self-defeating attitudes that everyone should avoid.
The Desire to Flee
That saying about how the tough get going when the going gets tough didn’t originate out of nowhere. I suspect it has something to do with mankind’s inborn fight or flight nature, because in most cases, people usually choose flight. The urge to give up is always present. Regarding our typical choice to flee in the face of fear, one Psychology Today article asked a question, then responded this way:
“Can we consciously condition ourselves to be more active and less passive in the face of fear? I believe the answer is yes.”
That particular article chose to delve into the deeper, more scientific aspects of our brain’s connection to fear (Decoding the Neuroscience of Fear and Fearlessness). But this article is simply about finding easy and positive ways to counteract negative attitudes that make us want to flee in the first place.
Negative Attitudes to Avoid
Most writers, artists, freelancers and entrepreneurs who are trying to get ahead can relate to feelings of defeat. If I could get paid for the countless times that I wanted (and even tried) to give up along the way, I’d be a very rich woman! Fortunately, my crazy, persistent, love of writing has prevented me from completely throwing in the towel more times than I can mention.
Over the years, I learned something important about myself. I discovered that I have “10 Self-defeating Attitudes to Avoid at All Costs” when it comes to my online writing career.
#1 I start but then I get distracted
#2 I start something, then forget why It was a good ideal
#3 When it doesn’t go right the first time I say forget it
#4 If things move too slowly I say forget it
#5 If someone else says something negative, I start to get skeptical
#6 I get disappointed when I don’t get the same results as someone else
#7 I get discouraged or suspicious when I find out there’s a cost
#8 I get overwhelmed when I find out what all is required
#9 I change my mind about how much effort and time I want to invest
#10 I run into technical difficulties and quit
As you might imagine, the above statements often lead to feelings of helplessness and can cause you to give up on something you really believe in. This kind of negative thinking will make you quit before you even get started.
Ready to Call it Quits
On your never-ending journey to succeed, you will find that feelings of defeat can creep in from anywhere. This is especially so when you work hard online, pursuing some type of internet business, project, or activity. Depending on the outcome that you perceive you should get, it’s easy to get into an “instant results” frame of mind. You want everything to happen right now, but it doesn’t, so then what do you do?
Unfortunately, for most creative people, entrepreneurs, and small business startups, success is not instantaneous or an overnight thing. Many fail to realize this fact when they first begin on their journey. When they do finally realize it, frustration and dissatisfaction have managed to set in.
As defeat begins to creep into your spirit, it doesn’t take much to put you over the edge. One sleepless night, one missed deadline, one bad review, or even one broken link, and all of a sudden, you’re ready to call it quits! You just don’t understand why everyone seems to win but you.
If you want to learn how to resist the urge not to give up, you can’t afford to sing the “everybody succeeds but me” blues. That is precisely the kind of thinking that causes you to sink into a “nothing ever works” state of depression.
You need to give yourself a reality check (everyday if necessary). Remember that you are not alone in your struggles. The truth is, everyone is not succeeding and plenty of people have the same obstacles as you. More importantly, some of those people are finding ways to move or work around the obstacles, and so can you. So even when you feel like nothing ever works, if you continue to press forward and implement effective and proven techniques, something will eventually succeed, without a doubt.
Patience is Needed
Whether you have any or not, patience is definitely needed in order to resist the urge to give up when the going starts to get tough. If you happen to be a person short on patience, there is a very good reason why you should start learning to cultivate some, particularly if you work online. It all has to do with the way things work in the undercurrents of cyber world. Things are not always what they seem, thanks to various algorithms, the cloud, and the use of unwavering search engines. You can’t just give up on your efforts to achieve your goals.
If you’re patient, it may take time, but your online activities could eventually become fruitful. You might just discover (much later on) that something you already put in motion is actually working to your benefit. Don’t underestimate your previous blog or web articles, social media posts, or promotional videos and marketing ads. These things might take time to penetrate the right audience.
Many times, the positive online results that you are hoping for don’t happen right away. Sometimes the results may not be clear and easy to recognize. In my own case, there were lots of times that I stopped performing certain book marketing activities. I would simply run out of patience, and discontinue what I was doing. Then I’d do some other marketing activity and eventually give up on that too. By the time I started getting positive results, not only had I stopped the activities, but I had no way of knowing which ones had really worked.
Patience would have prevented me from quitting useful activities prematurely. It would have also enabled me to recognize which activities were successful, so I could duplicate my efforts and improve on my success.
Mental Barriers & Obstacles
In my experience, I’ve found that having a lack of patience is often a common obstacle to successfully achieving a goal. Sad to say, there are many other mental barriers, including some very particular self-defeating attitudes. But there are also some effective ways to help you remove or go around the obstacles that mentally block your path. In order to do this, you must be able to identify exactly what you are experiencing when negativity tries to creep in.
It stands to reason that before you can ever address a solution, you need to have a clear understanding of the specific problem or obstacle you’re dealing with. If you don’t identify what the actual issue is, you cannot determine the solution.
For example, whenever something doesn’t go according to plan, it is easy to get into a nothing seems to be working frame of mind. The reality is: Something in particular didn’t go according to plan. That is not the same as nothing at all is going according to plan. Can you see the difference in the mindset here?
Learning to focus on the particular obstacle and challenge at hand (one thing at a time) is mandatory if you want to resist the urge to give up. Whether you’re a writer or author, a freelancer of some kind, or a business entrepreneur; you should do a self-analysis on a regular and consistent basis. Teaching yourself to recognize and tackle one obstacle at a time can help chase away the “I’m ready to give up” blues.
Thanks to my list of avoidable self-defeating attitudes, I’ve been able to overcome the feeling of wanting to give up. My dream of being a best-selling author is still my primary objective and focal point and gaining visibility is still hard. So yes, I still get discouraged at times. But instead of giving in to the urge to give up, I consult my list whenever I feel myself getting off balance, or starting to feel defeated. I remind myself that what I’m experiencing is a distinct self-defeating attitude that I have the power to control and avoid.
Using my list, I scan and try to zero in on which attitude currently applies to how I’m feeling. I ask myself: “What is wrong with ME right now?” This question doesn’t refer to the actual problem or setback that I might be dealing with, such as: My book sales were low this month, my webpage is loading too slow, no one has reviewed my latest book. Technically, these are issues that are not completely within my control, so I force myself to keep my radar on what’s actually in my power to fix.
An article I read recently by Thomas Oppong is titled: “Without a Plan, You Do What’s Passive and Easy.” This writer did a great job of stressing the importance of planning, if you truly want to make real progress. His article stated:
“A feeling of control motivates us to act, according to research.”
I couldn’t help thinking how true this is, even when it comes to the way we choose to deal with our personalities and mood swings. My list provides me with a concrete plan of action so I know how to handle the bad days that come and go.
Now, instead of getting myself worked up about a problem that is out of my control at the time, I try to focus on fixing my frame of mind. Maybe, I can’t do anything about making my website load faster or increasing book sales and reviews. But until things change for the better, I can definitely do something about keeping the right attitude when setbacks occur. Now I’m convinced that I can resist the urge to give up.