Monday, March 23, 2009

Giving up, second chances, and failure to try

The lull in college basketball affords me the opportunity to once again engage deeper issues. This one has been coming for a while, but it didn't hit me just right until this week. Our lives are all about these three components. We're told never to give up, to always give things second chances, and always to try. For the most part this is true; however, different circumstances call for different approaches. I've got a particular viewpoint on each. In fact, some of these viewpoints might surprise all the regular readers out there. I'll begin with what I should probably end with, giving up, get it. Moving on.

This is obvious, but it's hard to give up. Completely quiting on something is one of the hardest things in the entire world to do. Addictions are so hard to break, because they require something to be given up. An addiction is almost always bad, so stopping that action or behavior is a good instance of giving up. Just imagine how much cleaner the air would be without cigarette smoke. Or how many poor decisions could be avoided if alcoholism didn't exist. Unfortunately, these addictions will continue to persist, and continue to be extremely difficult to give up. Other things are easier to give up on. Many people make proclamations, but give up on them quickly after making them. New year's resolutions are a good example. Going to the gym, walking more, and eating less sweets usually go out the window quickly. These activities, despite being positive, are usually seen as ideal but not necessary. In addition, it is easy to "give up" on people in speech, but not in action or actuality. As a result, people often stay in unproductive relationships rather than 'give up' on them. Usually the rationale is: I didn't want to hurt them, I couldn't bring myself to take that step, or I thought I could make it work. This is admirable, but some things need to be given up on. Sometimes people don't want to change, and other times people say they will change to produce a desired effect when they have no intention of doing so. When it causes emotional, mental, and especially physical anguish it's time to give up on it. It isn't easy to do, but sometimes giving up is a good thing. Everyone wants to be strong, but some things are beyond your control, Those things that YOU can't change, you have to give to God and give up on. Hard work and determination only go so far. As much as you might like to, you're never going to move a building on your own. You can't fly, live under water, or jump to the moon. We, men and women, have limits. Some things; however, aren't impossible or necessary to be given up on. These things usually deserve a second change, as initial impression can be deceiving. Often another perspective or taking a look at it from a different angle is enough.

I use to think second chances were pointless. To me, it seemed stupid to try to convince yourself an initially unappealing thing was now appealing. However, then I gave some things a chance and proved myself wrong. In high school I hated Coldplay. Of course, I also never really gave them a chance, but that didn't matter since they sucked. Then I came to Pitt, and decided to give Chris Martin and crew a chance. Now I like, not love, Coldplay. Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head are good albums. Also, Viva la Vida ain't half bad either, although X & Y is still awful and I do not own it. Regardless, I had an initial premise of hating Coldplay without ever having given their music a true chance. Another music example: I despised worship and praise songs. I felt they all sounded the same, had pathetic lyrics, and lacked passion when sung. Then I started going to Cornerstone, and my attitude completely changed. Worship and praise songs can be very engaging, I recommend checking out Hillsong United. Anyway, now I really enjoy going to Cornerstone, and especially enjoy the worship and praise portion each Wednesday night. I always hated 'romantic movies,' which could be its entirely own post. Even so, for whatever reason I was not a fan, and anything that even remotely suggested 'romantic' I was against. This probably would have survived, but I was 'persuaded' into watching a movie I vowed to never watch: Tristan & Isolde. It actually wasn't terrible, much to my surprise. Although, I would still not consider myself a fan, 'romantic' movies are better than I made them out to be. The list could continue, but the point is if I can do it so can you. I'm stubborn, which makes second chances always difficult to grant. However, some things need closer inspection and a little more time. Sometimes relationships are like this. Maybe getting to know someone takes longer than one would think. Circumstances change and produce new chances. Too often I've talked myself out of things without giving them a change. I use to think, for some bizarre reason, girls with glasses were incapable of being my type. I still don't know what my 'type' is, but I know that my initial premise is completely false. If the reasoning for dislike is irrational it probably deserves another shot. However, many don't give it a shot. This leads to a failure on multiple levels.

Everyone hates failure, even though it's everywhere. No one wants to not finish, leave answers blank or a test, or have to retake their driver's test. However, these failures happen multiple times even day. Still, nothing is more pathetic and worthless than a failure to try. This isn't apathy, a lack of care, it's fear of failure or even success. Some people don't try, because they give up before they even start. Many have defeatist mentalities, the idea that too many things need to work out that it isn't even worth attempting to try. This is a sad and terrible attitude. Innovation would have been impossible if no one had tried. It's better to try and fail miserably than to never try at all. In addition, some don't try because they fear the past. This is the 'history repeats itself' mentality. "My last boyfriend/girlfriend treated me badly and the relationship ended horribly, so I won't even try this time cause the same thing will happen." "I've gotten an 80 on the first three tests, so I won't try on this one because I'm just going to get another 80." These arguments many seem valid, but they aren't. The first is built on the premise of fear, and unwillingness to take risk out of inability to separate the past from the present. The second is just ridiculously stupid, and is poor manipulation of laziness as a justification for performance. Yes, trying is difficult, this is true. However, without taking a chance and trying you'll never know success. Although, you may find failure in life, in the end God will show you to true success. If you believe in Jesus, and that he saved you from your sins and wants to be your savior, you'll find this success in eternity. Luckily, this is one thing you don't have to try for. For now, we do have to try as a presently earth-dwelling being. This often involves trying, and being hurt, disappointed, or let down as a result. However, this doesn't mean we can give up on trying. Those people who try to get close to you, and aren't out to hurt you, don't push them away. The world is too brutal to be callous. Trust is a part of trying, and often this trust can get broken. Don't lose heart though, keep trying to trust. Forget the past, or learn to live with it, and then stop judging everything on that basis. Remember the people you push away. Those that keep trying to come back are worth giving another shot. Giving up may be easier, but trying is more rewarding in the end. If someone cares, they'll try to demonstrate this as best as possible. You can question motives, truth, and character, but not effort. No one tries for something that means nothing to them. But I'd make a fool of myself trying for something worth trying for. I have. Try to understand that, if nothing else, this isn't pretend.

There you go. Stop giving up before you try, and go give something/someone a second chance. Take my word for it you'll be glad you did.

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