Read this when life is hard and you want to give up.

life is hard
When life is hard, do you give up or do you lean in?

Life is hard. Succeeding is hard. After all, if it was easy, then everyone would do it.

Like a hero you’re faced with demons, obstacles, self-doubt. Steven Pressfield calls it in the famous   War of Art  as “Resistance”.

You feel demotivated. You’re disappointed.

You want to give up.

  • You want to give up exercising and your dream of a healthy, lean body.
  • You want to give up your dream of becoming a writer.
  • You want to give up _____[insert dream that is important for your life]

We all face obstacles. Both successful and non-successful people face them.

Yet there is one thing that successful people do differently – and that’s why they succeed.

  • They get the lean body.
  • They become full-time writers.
  • They make their BIG dream come true.

What is it? Well, let’s first cover whether this dream is important enough first, and we’ll dive into it later.

Is this thing important to you?

The first question to ask yourself is whether your dream is important for you.

Sometimes the answer is self-evident. For example, health is important. Hence, moving your body, taking care of your diet, sleeping well, go on top of your list.

Sometimes, it’s not immediately obvious. In this case, I recommend using the Bezos regret minimization framework. Ask yourself: If I don’t do this now, will I regret it when I’m 80 years-old?

Watch Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, explain this himself. Asking this question made him certain that he should start…Amazon!

When I’m 80 years old…

  • Will I regret not writing a book?
  • Will I regret not having kids?
  • Will I regret not starting this business?
  • Will I regret not switching careers?
  • Will I regret not asking this boy/girl out?

If you decide that this dream is not important, then feel free to give up. Reserve your precious energy for something that is actually important.

However, if you decide that this is indeed important, then let me tell you…

What NOT to do when life is hard and you want to give up

“You’re not off the hook. You’re not allowed to hide behind excuses.”

That’s exactly what I tell myself when life is hard.

I’m saying this as lovingly as I can but I mean every word.

For example, if health is important, then you’re not allowed not to exercise because:

  • You don’t have enough time
  • You don’t really like it
  • You don’t have enough energy
  • You feel overwhelmed just thinking about it

You are not allowed to hide behind the “I don’t have time excuse”. You are not allowed to hide behind the “I don’t really like exercise” excuse. You are not allowed to let “I don’t have enough energy” deter you from taking care of you and your body.

We all know people who are busier than us, yet do exercise every day. We all know of people who used to think exercise was boring, but did an 180 degree turn and now actually enjoy moving their bodies.

If these people made it happen, then so can you. No excuses!

And now that you know what not to do, let’s examine…

What to do when life is hard and you want to give up

Watch the video to learn the two possible approaches you when life is hard.

You got two options that are equally effective.

1. The Churchill option

“When you’re going through hell, keep going.”

– Winston Churchill

Now that life is hard IS not the time to wallow in your pain. Now is the time to focus your efforts and lean in stronger towards your success. Now is not the time to step back, but to step forward.

Just like Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, advises: Lean In.

Now this is an extreme approach that does work wonders when applied. Yet, there is another approach with equally wonderful results…

2. The Confucius option

“It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop.”

– Confucius

By all means, do not give up. Keep going no matter what, even if what you do is extremely small.

For example, for the people who are about to quit exercise, I advise: scale back! It’s alright to just do 5 min a day. It’s alright to just do 1 min a day. It’s even alright if you wear your workout clothes but do absolutely no exercise.


Because you’re staying committed. You’re showing your determination. You’re not slacking off. You’re serious about this.

You don’t need to go big to be committed. Small is enough. Perfectionism is no excuse not to act.  (click to tweet)

And commitment pays off.

[Btw, if  exercise is indeed a problem for you, then you are lucky. The resources to help you make this happen are available to you. To learn how to make exercise part of your life, even if you have hardly any energy or time for it, check out my book.]

Remember, if success was easy then everyone would be successful. But success is not easy – it’s hard for everyone. Life is hard.

If you quit, then you’re certainly going to fail. As Michael Jordan said:

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Now Michael Jordan is successful. Both successful and self-made. He faced challenges too, but for the things that were worth fighting for, he fought. He didn’t quit.

Again, if this dream is important to you, then don’t hide behind excuses. Don’t let yourself quit.

Raise your standards. You deserve more. But in order to get more, you need to give your dream respect. Don’t give up. Keep it up.

Even if what you do is small, it doesn’t matter.

  • Perfectionism is no excuse.
  • Lack of time is no excuse.
  • Lack of credentials is no excuse.
  • “It’s hard” is no excuse.

You are out of excuses.

There’s only one way to go, and that is through. Success awaits you on the other side.

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