Learning to never give up when we seem to be faced with failure

The Don’t Give Up Poem

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

– Author unknown



I came across this poem a few months ago. The poem was written many years ago, and the author is unknown though many have claimed to have written it.

Life can be hard. This is certainly true in financial matters. The last 5 years have been a particularly difficult time for many. I experienced this myself with a job loss and several months of unemployment. I was blessed to find another job, but many have not been so fortunate. When we find ourselves getting knocked down every time we try to take a step, it is very easy to give up.

Famous failures

The thing is there are 100’s of examples of famous people who struggled through many failures before they finally finally had the breakthrough that we now know them for.

  • Abraham Lincoln – Lost 26 elections before finally winning the presidency of the United States.
  • Walt Disney – Was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked creativity and imagination”.
  • Thomas Edison – Was told by a teacher when he was a child that he was too stupid to learn anything. Failed over a 1,000 times before finally finding the right combination to create the first electric light bulb.
  • Colonel Sanders – Had his recipe for fried chicken rejected by 1,009 restaurants before finally achieving success.
  • Stephen King – His manuscript for his novel Carrie was rejected by 30 editors. He threw it in the trash and considered giving up writing. His wife dug it out and encouraged him to keep on trying. The rest is history.
  • Beethoven – Was told by his teachers that he was a hopeless composer.
  • Henry Ford – Had several failed businesses that left him broke 5 times before starting the Ford Motor Company. Even then was told by many business friends that he was foolish to start an automobile company when he didn’t know anything about manufacturing.
  • Albert Einstein – Learned to speak very late and was a poor student in school.
  • Fred Astaire – After his first movie audition was told by the director – “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Not handsome. Can dance a little.”
  • Vincent Van Gogh – Sold only one painting during his lifetime, but today he’s recognized as one of the most brilliant artists ever and his paintings are worth millions.

I could go on and on with examples. What would have happened if these people had given up? Certainly we would never known their names. But even more importantly, the world would be a lesser place without the contributions they made.

If you are struggling, I just want to encourage you to press on. You may be on the verge of a break through. If you give up, you will never know.

Photo credit: ReikelPhotography (creative commons)

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