Now is NOT the Time to Give Up
Think back to a time when you were so frustrated because of a setback in a project or goal you were working on. It could be something simple like trying to fix a small kitchen appliance (ex. coffee maker) that seemed easy at first. Or maybe it was a big project you’d been working on for a long time and you were almost done. Suddenly you hit a roadblock. Remember that feeling of hopelessness or anger and just wanting to give up immediately?
Now is NOT the time to decide to throw in the towel! When we feel this frustrated, our emotions overtake our logical thinking. Studies show that we become so focused on the problem, we can’t step back to see other possible approaches. This is because of biochemical and physiological changes that interfere with our ability to think clearly in this moment. The best thing we can do is to take a break and walk away. We need to distract ourselves and allow time for our body and brain to regain balance so we can think rationally.
My husband’s work seems to give him a constant supply of experiences to practice this approach. He has his own machine shop and does a variety of custom work for his customers. The other day he had a job that included a part whose final geometry and finish were especially challenging. A few days into it, he told me he was done for the day because he had hit a roadblock. His approach wasn’t working and he was stuck! His frustration was very high, and I could tell he was wondering if he would ever be able to finish this project. But after several hours of focusing on something else, he suddenly exclaimed that he’d figured out how to do it. I’m very impressed with and proud of his perseverance!
The next time you are upset because of a setback, remember now is not the time to give up, but it is time to take a break.
Tina Hallis, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and consultant for The Positive Edge. She shares the Science of Success with organizations who want to create more positive workplaces and teams so they can activate their people’s performance.