Life Lesson #10: Never Give Up

Life is not a sprint, it’s an ultra-marathon. There are many obstacles and hurdles and curve balls along the way, some self-inflicted but many unforeseen and unexpected. We mostly create our own destiny, but there is a lot that we are not in control of. COVID-19 is a stark reminder of this harsh reality. Life is not a fairytale. Bad things happen to good people. Life is not always fair.

This being the case, how do we navigate through this uncertain landscape?

Nelson Mandela endured more setbacks and unfair treatment in his lifetime than most people, and this is his advice: “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got up again”. As long as you get up one more time than you fell down, you will still be on your feet. We don’t have control over the curve balls or the unfair treatment, but we have control over how we respond to them, and the best way to respond to a setback is to bounce back.

I was raised to never give up in life.

My Dad’s philosophy was that everyone experiences headwinds in their lives, so the winners and losers are determined by whether you quit or get back on your feet and try again. This advice became a reality when I started doing ultra-distance running in my mid-twenties. 12 Comrades marathons and many other standard and ultra-distance races later I can say with certainty a never-say-die attitude is the only way to get through bad patches. This also applies to life in general. I have had a number of serious setbacks in my life. I was once misdiagnosed with a serious medical condition that led to me having had to walk away from my dream job. There were times when I seriously considered quitting, but I kept reminding myself that “bad patches don’t last”. I somehow managed to get myself back on my feet again and, quite amazingly, life rewarded me with an even better “dream job”.

My story is not unique. There are people who had to overcome much worse circumstances than me. However, the central theme of the story is invariably one of overcoming setbacks. Never ever give up. Fight back. Bounce back. Do whatever it takes, as long as you don’t give up. It doesn’t matter how many times life knocks you down, as long as you get back up one more time, you will still be on your feet.

Have a fantastic day.

Stay blessed,
René Otto, CEO: MiWay Insurance Ltd

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