Sometimes it's easier to give up rather than keep trying to get an A in math, or fix your marriage, or learn how to ride a bike, or get through to your children.
Of course, there are times when plain old common sense will tell you that it's time to quit that job, or that project, or that friendship. But for the other times, we can all learn from those who did not give up:
Thomas Edison's teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." He was fired from his first two jobs for being "non-productive." As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."
After his first audition, Sidney Poitier was told by the casting director, "Why don't you stop wasting people's time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?" It was at that moment that he decided to devote his life to acting.
Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4 years old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was "sub-normal," and one of his teachers described him as "mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams." He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He did eventually learn to speak and read. Even to do a little math.
Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him "hopeless as a composer." And, of course, you know that he wrote five of his greatest symphonies while completely deaf.
Van Gogh sold only one painting during his life to his friends for 400 francs (approximately $50). This didn't stop him from completing more than 800 paintings.
If you give up, you have no chance of succeeding.
The dictionary defines gratitude as "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness." I looked up the word after a conversation with someone who was dealing with a stressful personal situation which was resulting in episodes of anxiety. One of the coping mechanisms the healthcare professional had recommended was practicing gratitude. This means taking time out every day to be thankful for and to appreciate all that is good in life.
There has been a lot of research done on gratitude in recent years and it has been observed that being grateful helps a person feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve physical health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. This should not come as a surprise to anyone with faith.
Prayer to God is all about communicating with God. The communication is not about asking for material things or about granting favors. Instead, it involves being thankful for the countless gifts our divine father has generously given to us and continues to give.
Every opportunity is a sign of his love, and every challenge proves how much He lovingly wants us to grow. He not only knows what we deserve but also knows what we are capable of. With every challenge, He helps us to evolve.
By reflecting on all the blessings God has showered on us, we become better version of ourselves. We become kinder and more patient with others, which creates a cycle of them being more patient with us and others.
Let us resolve to never give up and give daily thanks to the Almighty who never tires of giving.
Siddheshvari Devi is a senior teacher for Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, founder of Yugal Kunj, and president of Radha Madhav Society. Doing Good Together is compiled by Interfaith Action of Central Texas, interfaithtexas.org.