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“Never Give Up” And Other Stupid Advice

“Never give up,” I hear that advice a lot.  It might sound good when you’re a child, or even a naive young adult.  But once you get older, you realize how stupid it sounds.

Think about it.  Really? “Never” give up?  Even when the path you are on is an obvious failure?  Seriously, would you tell the guy running towards the hundred foot cliff, jagged rocks below and all, to “never give up” his dream that he can really fly like a bird just by flapping his arms fast enough?  You really want to be the person standing there shouting, “you can do anything!”?

An absurd example for sure, but one that illustrates how absurd the eternally optimistic are as well.  Nothing grinds my gears more than people who prey on others with messages of eternal optimism backed by obviously faulty feel good phrases like this.  It’s even worse when the people pimping these messages are doing so because they want to sell you something.

The stark reality of life is that sometimes you indeed do have to give up what you are doing and try something different.  The blatant, universal truth is that you can’t do, “anything you set your mind to.”  No, not even if you stay at a Holiday Inn Express.  Sorry.

We all have limitations.  That’s what being human is all about.  We’re all different and don’t have the same skills.  Some of us are really good at certain things, others of us at other things.

My advice to everyone is to pursue their dreams.  But I add the caveat that they also be wise enough to know when they are in over their heads and traveling down a path that leads nowhere.

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