May 132013

English: Small plants grow in the blazing Carr...

How to succeed when you feel like giving up

Let’s face it. Following a big dream isn’t easy. It involves a lot of risk and effort nicely combined with a huge chunk of uncertainty. While we often read of inspiring achievements and fantastic results, we rarely hear about the sleepless nights, the bouts of confusion, the knock-backs and the anxiety.

The truth is, if it was easy to make a big dream happen we’d all do it. There are  many would rather keep on living in the ‘land of blah’ than put themselves in a situation that involves so much discomfort. Others try but when things going awry, give up and revert back to the safe old ways.

So what is it that pushes others all the way, what helps them achieve what they want regardless of what gets in their way?

Enter Salvatore Maddi, a psychologist who spent 12 years studying what helped people thrive in a difficult environment and we get our answer.

While we might think that success in a tough environment is related to intelligence or experience or luck, Dr. Maddi discovered that it is related to something different. All the people who thrived in a tough environment had one key thing in common and that key thing was RESILIENCE.

With resilience there’s some bad news and some good news.

People who have faced a lifetime of adversity show higher levels of resilience. This is probably why we often hear of super-stars who attribute their difficult childhood to their determination to succeed – Oprah Winfrey is a great example of this.

The bad news is that if you’ve had an easy life so far, chances are you may need to work on your resilience.

The good news is that resilience is a SKILL that we can all learn and develop. It’s not something that we’re either born with or without but something that we can nurture and grow.

So here are some quick tips you can use to help you feel more resilient when the going gets tough.

Resilience-building tips

Identify your resilience-killing thinking

Are you telling yourself that you can’t cope or that you’ve got everything to lose? Write these thoughts down and check whether you’re being realistic or a tad dramatic.

Replace them with resilience building thoughts.

Consider someone you know, or know of, whom you think would deal with this in a resilient way. (Richard Branson always works for me). Channel this person and think of what their thinking would be in this situation.

Take control

Focus on 1 action you can take to help you move forward and go do it. When it’s done focus on 1 more action and repeat.


This is especially important if you’re feeling isolated. Talk to someone who you know can make you feel better. Join a group of like-minded people and ask for support. (Incidentally I have created a Facebook Group for people who are following big dreams – e-mail me at if you’d like to join and I’d be thrilled to add you to the group).

I hope you find these tips useful and I’d love to hear how you’ve used them.


What other strategies do you use to stop yourself from giving up? Share these in the comments below – you might make a huge difference in someone else’s life.



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