I have been watching a lot of interviews with startup founders lately. These interviews can be very instructive, and can have some amazing life lessons. One common thread that is apparent in the stories of a lot of the founders and leaders is that they never gave up on their idea / company, despite odds that were heavily stacked against them. People like Elon Musk – who didn’t give up despite initial failures, and a whole industry that had no belief in what he was trying to do. Now – Tesla. But for every Elon Musk who made it through the lows to end up successful, there are thousands of others who probably had the same belief in themselves, but didn’t make it. One could argue that for all of those others – it would be better to cut their losses and move on.
But does anyone really have the right to make that judgement? The truth is that no one knows your journey like you do. And you are the only one who gets to make that call. But you have to do it for the right reasons, when you do. It is easy to confuse passion with possibility. But hope is not a strategy. You earn the right to take the call to stay in the game – but only if you fully understand the game. When you do, and you do it for the right reasons, even giving up is a win. Because it makes you better. That’s the art of giving up.