Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength.
– Chris Bradford, The Way of the Sword
This is one of the best quotes from Chris Bradford’s book, The Way of the Sword, from The Young Samurai series. Chris is an avid martial artist and his books reflect his love for martial arts and for Japan.
The Young Samurai series follows the adventures of Jack Fletcher, a young orphan, who is stranded in Japan and targeted by the dangerous enemies who killed his parents.
Jack joins a Samurai school where he is bullied relentlessly by his Japanese classmates. He gets depressed by the constant attacks and wants to give up.
It is at that moment that his teacher, a wizened Samurai warrior, tells him that giving up is easy. Anyone could give up; there is nothing great about that. Your enemies, people who bully you, and those who hold you in contempt, expect you to give up.
That’s the reason they attack you or bully you, they want to hear the words “I Quit” from you. But when you do the unexpected and refuse to give up, come what may, then that really surprises people. That is a sign of true strength which very few people on this planet possess.
Most people give up easily when life takes a turn for the worse, or when misfortune or bad luck strikes them. Giving up is the easiest thing in the world. That is our most natural impulse as adults, as it is only human nature to look for the easy way out, rather than to fight it out.
You have to fight this natural inclination, you have to do the unexpected when you are up against it and when everyone expects you to quit.
You should refuse to give up. Can you do that?
Life is never easy, it was never supposed to be. Life is, in fact, a constant struggle right from the moment we are born. Have you seen a baby take her first steps?
Walking on their feet is incredibly difficult for babies – they try to stand on their feet, but can’t. Crawling is much easier. Babies try to get on their feet and walk for more than a thousand times, failing on each occasion.
It is after several such attempts that they are finally able to stand on their feet, and take their first baby steps. If you are a parent, you will know how proud it makes you feel when your baby walks for the first time. Just the way your mom and dad felt when you walked for the first time when you were but a little one.
Can you imagine how things would have been had you given up trying to walk as a baby and chosen the easy way out, which was to crawl? That would have been so awful!
Even babies don’t give up, giving up is not an option for them.
Why should it be an option for you?
Trust me, there have been many occasions when I just wanted to give up. I had almost given up on my life when I lost someone I really cared for when I was in my early 20s, and immediately after that, suffered a serious setback in my academic life.
But I am so glad that I resisted that impulse and got back on my feet eventually, and my life has been all the better for it. I’m happier today than I have ever been. I thank God every day that I didn’t give up, at a time when everyone expected me to.
There are days in your life when things get really bad, and people expect you to fall apart because of that. But you can’t, you really can’t! You cannot allow yourself to succumb to your weakness and quit the fight. You have to keep fighting because that is what life is about.
Have you seen the film Dunkirk?
It was one of the best movies I have seen in a while, not just because Christopher Nolan is a great director, but because of the message the story sends out.
Over 333,000 British troops are trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. They find themselves under tremendous attack from German forces. Leaflets are dropped from the air, asking them to surrender –
SURRENDER IS THE ONLY OPTION!!
But Britain had a great Prime Minister those days, the legendary Winston Churchill, who roared,
“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
And so they did! Britain did not give up. Every serviceable naval or civilian vessel that could be found was used to evacuate the British soldiers so that they could live and fight another day.
I ask you again, do you think you have the right to give up? No! You don’t. Fight it out, whatever you are facing right now, victory will be yours!