The Importance Of Never Giving Up

Photo Finish

As you may have gathered I am a big sports fan and I see many parallels between sporting achievement and achievement in the business world. This summer I was struck by a number of examples of athletes not giving up when all seemed to be lost. The picture above is probably the most striking I encountered. It shows the 400m Final at the World Athletics Championships. Christine Ohuruogu had been behind for the entire race and looked to be beaten. She kept going down the finishing straight and managed to dip at the line. The result was that she beat Amantle Montsho clocking the exact same time of 49.41 seconds, but it was the Briton who was deemed the winner by four thousandths of a second.

The other example was watching Bradley Wiggins at the World Road Cycling Championships – Time Trial. He would have known that part way into the race he stood no chance of winning gold, as Tony Martin was in unbelievable form and already ahead on time. What impressed me is that he kept going through the pain right to the very end of the race, and in the end claimed a silver medal by 2.25 seconds from Fabian Cancellara.

Over the years I have been involved in enough programmes and projects to know that I will always come up against those that say “We have no chance of delivering on time.  We might as well re-baseline now!” The problem I have with this is that as soon as you concede then you stand no chance of meeting your objective no matter how outlandish the possibility might seem. Just like Christine Ohuruogu and Bradley Wiggins you have to stick to your own game plan and make every effort to achieve the outcome you are after. There might also be that point where the reality sets in that you aren’t going to get the gold. Do you throw your arms in the air pack up your toys and go home or do you focus on the next goal of getting as close as possible to winning?

In my experience many times I have seen what might have been a two week miss turn into a two month miss and significant additional cost because people take their foot of the gas when winning is no longer likely. We have to learn to live with the discomfort that we might fail in order to succeed more times than most. Too often there is the temptation to not push through that final bit of pain when we are just on the verge of success.

I still find it strange that people somehow think that success will just be a walk in the park and everything will go to plan. I have a simple three step strategy to delivering success in a business context.

  1. Things will go wrong – don’t be surprised!
  2. You will need to get creative and be clear on what would need to be true for you to be successful.
  3. Never give up until all is said and done.

What are your strategies for success in business?


  • TaylorMiles

    Joe dirt says “keep on keepin on!”

  • Ruud Reijmerink

    Well said and indeed “Never give up”

  • Daniel O

    Bookmarking this! A, B, C.- Daniel Oon

  • goldschmiede

    You are right

  • Robert M Staples

    Good common sense insight that sometime we lose sight of

  • Rok Sprogar

    I’ll add to this the part where you shouldn’t fall in love with your investment. Knowing when it’s time to cut your losses and live to fight another day can be just as important.

  • Neil Pearce

    Completely agree Rok there are definitely times where the right answer is simply to stop and move on to something else. But if not never give up :-)

  • Justin Wheeler

    Didn’t Churchill say it best? Great blog post.

  • Hunter Robert Hailey

    this is a great post, its something to never forget

  • Toptendeals

    Great Post!

  • Nikki Ng

    Absolutely agree! It is important to overcome the hurdle and never give up in order to stay in the game!

  • Donald

    Good information to be reminded of from time to time.

  • Darren Wall

    Rok, Neil, what about the people who become blinkered and can’t see what they’re doing is fruitless?

  • Neil Pearce

    I agree Darren the biggest mistake is to be working on the wrong thing, secondly working on something that will never work and not recognising it or changing the approach to achieving the outcome. But once you are clear on the goal and it can be achieved then never give up.

  • Neil Pearce

    Yes and he said it in less words ;-)

  • Rob Tee

    Some great advice, but always difficult to overcome blindness to possibilities

  • Edward Ramm

    “Things will go wrong” well ain’t that the truth!

  • hsphealth

    Success and being able to deliver is as much a function of skill and preparation as attitude. If you have not put the work in you may not succeed. However if you have you should never give up. Even if you do not win, by pushing yourself you will learn something. Persistence and preparation generally yield positive results.

  • Sumit Sharma

    can’t forget this post awesome man

  • Neil Pearce

    Completely agree and thanks for sharing your insight

  • tony greene

    The mantra of the post “never give up” has become a constant in my current lifestyle. Sometimes living without the use of one or more utilities in the home has made me realize some stone cold truths.

  • Maria Jepifanow

    inspiring thoughts!

  • Arnaz ConcreteMuzik Woods

    great post it really makes you thrive to persivere

  • sanjay swain

    Thanks for the post keep it up

  • SomGBE

    Never GiveUp

  • James Lowery

    Thanks for this Neil. I watched the Wiggins race, and one of the most impressive things about his performance was the way he came back at Cancellara from being ~20 seconds back. Real grit.

  • Patrice Paquette

    Very interesting article. Thank you for the tips!

  • Andrew

    Great post, too true!

  • Kita Champion

    This was very motivating thank you.

  • Jamie M

    Great article, thanks!

  • Ming Jong Tey

    Not giving up is one of the most important attitude if we want to succeed in anything that we do :) Kudos to you!


  • gholden

    Great article. Thanks for today’s inspiration. : )

  • Bree Hoge

    Great advice, we should always do this, but easy to loose sight…

  • Saul Fleischman

    Very true – too many give up, when they were so close. Thanks for reminding thoseof us still looking for some semblance of “light at the end of the tunnel.”

  • TechnoZeast

    This has to be the first rule of success.

  • Gil Datz

    Nice job on the post! Giving up is a temptation, but info like this is great as a reminder to not.

  • Roger Koplenig

    Giving up is not an option, unless you ride on a dead horse. Thanks for the post.

  • Amazing

    Hard to deal when things go wrong.

  • Nick

    -learn to laugh at yourself when you try something new, everyone else is anyway

  • Tom Laing

    A good read and good reminder of Churchill’s words “Never, never, give up!”

  • Cosmin Motoc

    Never give Always move ahead !!!

  • robert b

    Very excellent read

  • Ulrich Lamb

    Thanks Neal for this write-up. Maybe only one per cent are real fighters by nature. Most people just follow where the path has been cleared. The truth is that everybody can become a fighter to win the race we are supposed to run. Our entire life is a race. – Never, ever give up!

  • KavalonThatsMe

    Thank you for the motivation! Very inspiring!

  • Mike

    Fantastic information!

  • Mary-Margaret Walker

    My comments are the opposite of what you are seeking. I am a master at never giving up, believing that with hard thoughtful work, passion, integrity and the right set of skills I will be fulfilled and successful. Rolling up my sleeves is easy.

    My tendency is not to give up because I was taught by my Mother that to give is shameful. Strangely, I have found that it was easier to give up or let go of something when I was younger. As I have grown older, it has become harder. (More work = higher commitment.)

    Early in my career, I was working in a company that had a strong hold on me. Getting a job there was the brass ring at the time. It was a very emotionally close company, even as we began to grow. I was working extremely hard at this company and didn’t ever want to leave. But I was starting to hit a glass ceiling. Slowly I began to notice that my shift changed from being sad when I saw an email from someone who was leaving the company to being envious. I didn’t pay attention to this feeling fast enough and I stayed and worked past a point (and at a level) that was healthy for me.

    In a desire to create a healthier and happier career that fit my skill set and would set me up to be a stay at home working Mom, I became a recruiter. Wow! I had no idea that people felt that had the right to be openly rude to me based on my work. I was pretty sure I hadn’t lost my sense of integrity while I was sleeping. I worked hard to gain trust and respect and build my business. I’ve been recruiting for 17 years and there have been many ups and downs of running a business. It seemed worth it for what I thought I was building. Within the last four years I have learned that, 1. being a parent can’t occur naturally, 2 I have never found a satisfying solution to the constantly growing number of people who want and expect my help but don’t understand that my clients hire me to fill positions not to help people find jobs, 3. I would much rather be helping people find jobs, 4. I have studied many businesses that do this and i’m still sorting out one that would be satisfying to me. 5. In the meantime, the best step is to become a contract recruiter to enjoy working more closely with hiring manager and candidates as well as potentially create some resources that will eliminate a lot of the issues I have pushed on and pushed on.

    I have learned that if I ever felt like giving up that I need to evaluate all known variables and test my hypothesis with a couple of trusted advisors to decide if my desire to give up is really an indication that I need to let go.

  • Neil Pearce

    Mary yours is exactly the sort of comment I was hoping to get :-) I think it is so important that people are focused on doing the right thing and have the right goals that are rewarding for themselves. My article is about those that are clear on what it is that they want and are within a hairs breadth of getting it but might be tempted to stop just at that last moment because it looks too difficult. Thanks for sharing much appreciated.

  • Adrine D’mello

    Inspirational !! Well written :)

  • Blair Kunkel

    Inspirational read! Thank you for sharing!

  • Paul

    Learning to live with discomfort can take a lifetime. I also think it can very confusing at times because discomfort can be a signal to not do something. But when we are constantly told to push through the discomfort, you are left wondering if you putting aside good judgement.