Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

This is the "never give up" fallacy, a sort of magical thinking in our times. But sometimes giving up is the smart thing to do. You rarely hear anyone emphasise that though, due to survivor bias.

I agree with tagirb that Bukowski was talking about a different thing. But I wanted to expand on the "never give up" issue, even if it might be slightly out of topic.

Giving up doesn't sound sexy. It's definitely something everyone should learn, but hey, maybe we aren't "selling" the concept well enough.

In my experience, in most cases where you have to give up, what you really have to do is to stop trying to achieve a certain abstract goal through a certain specific method. Not renounce to the goal, the drive, the passion itself, but renounce to the methods, the rigid views you might hold.

Maybe you want to write great songs, but you are failing because you are just trying to repeat something similar to what your favourite artist already did. Maybe you want to get better grades, but are just re-reading the lessons, expecting something to stick, when you are not even focusing on it or trying to understand the previous lessons that lead to the current one. Maybe you want to jump a 2 meter fence, but you are just running against it, without ever having tried with smaller ones first.

It's never so simple, but this is the main point.

Sometimes we have to face reality. In many cases, the only thing we need to give up is our naive views and past mistakes. Some people will repeat the same mistake over and over and call that "trying really hard". Sorry, but no. Trying really hard is not that. Trying really hard is being able to let go your naivety, to keep exploring alternatives, to keep learning, and learning, and failing, and going back and retry in a different way.

[and this is still not what you were talking about]

For me this "never give up" does not mean fighting through this life, it means "never give up on yourself", on that sparkle in your eyes, on your inner smile, on the light inside you, call it however you want.

Go all the way with it, don't trade yourself for whatever "benefits" offered to you, well, by your own mind, first of all.

Once you're out of _that_ slavery, then you're truly free wherever you are and whatever you do.

That’s why we’ve rebranded it as pivoting.

And more: people who write stuff like this (from experience) are usually the lucky ones with hindsight bias.

Similar but different I think is also walking away, if it is just a situation you don't want to be in or negative I think it is effective to just cut it off hard and come back later

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact