When Should You Give Up?

08 Jan 2019 - Vivian Hir

Ever since we are little, we are told to never give up, no matter how hard it may seem. However, there are exceptions. Recently, I have felt unmotivated when I was practicing for the AMC 10, a math competition that most participate in. For quite a while, I didn't exactly enjoy math because I got most questions wrong. Then, I would get mad myself and over time, my self confidence was worse than before. However, I still persevered and practiced for the AMC. It was like banging my head against the wall over and over again. Ok, I did improve compared to last year, but I was nowhere close to achieving the next round. Why? I was confused if quitting was a bad thing, especially because I heard a lot of times that quitters never win. I needed time for reflection. In fact, I should have re-evaluated myself a long time ago.

I read Barking Up the Wrong Tree during Thanksgiving break both for fun and to learn something, but I didn't sit down for an hour and ask myself these questions. In Chapter 3, Eric Barker talks about when someone should not give up and when it is acceptable to give up. He asked the reader a few questions, as if it was some game. Based on the fact that I was quite clueless, I decided to use the WOOP method. WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan. After doing that, I realized that my actions didn't completely align with what I actually liked to do. Now, I am at peace with myself and I accept the fact that competition math isn't my strong suit and that is okay.

Recently, I have been picking up USNCO because I enjoyed it more and was more efficient when I learned about chemistry than doing math problems. Even if I got problems wrong, I was less frustrated. Rather than feeling discouraged, I wanted to know what I did wrong.

I think I have diverged off the title about the dilemma a lot of us face. In short, you sometimes have to give up to go up. I hate to be hard on you, but you can't be perfect at everything or else you are excellent at NOTHING. If you actually don't like something and doesn't go with what you actually value in life, then stop doing it! That is why we have the ability to make decisions.

Vivian Hir is a high school student who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her blogs can be found here. Constructive feedback is appreciated.