Any creative entrepreneur knows that having an idea you believe in is like having a child. You care for it. You defend it. You spend long hours thinking about it, worrying about it, tending to it, helping it grow and mature. Ideas are like children--wild, free, often times uncontrollable, and yet the greatest gift.
Just like you would never give up on your child, you should never give up on your ideas.
1. There is a difference between "putting an idea away" vs "giving up."
Call it semantics, but there is a fundamental difference between "quitting" something in a fit of frustration, and taking an idea to the end of its path and then deciding, calmly and with a clear head, that it's time to move on to something else.
When you "give up," you continue to carry that baggage with you long into the future. You still think about it. You wonder. You may even feel regret.
That's very different than fighting as long as you can for an idea and then realizing its time to pivot, or shift, or move on all together.
2. It will make you less productive.
If you are a driven individual and then one day you "give up," there is a pretty high chance you'll continue to obsess over it even if you aren't actively working on it. And if you're still thinking about it, that's energy being spent in that direction. And if energy is being spent in that direction, that's energy you could have been spending more productively.
3. You associate "giving up" with "failure."
When you pour your heart into something, only to realize this one path or venture wasn't what you thought, isn't what you want, etc., and you decide to move on to something else, that's one thing. If you pour your heart and into something and decide to "give up" at the 5 yard line, however, that's completely different.
Don't drop the ball at the 5 yard line. You're right there. If you give up because it's hard, or because it's tough, or because you're frustrated and things aren't going your way, then you will most likely chalk the whole thing up to being "a failure."
Don't settle for "failure." Carry the idea through, and if you want to pivot then pivot. But do so in a way that acknowledges all the hard work you put into the journey.
4. It encourages the habit.
I'll be honest, my parents never let me quit anything. Ever. The first time I stepped on the ice to play hockey, I was 5 years old. I opened the massive door to the boards, put one skate on the cold surface and fell flat on my face. I turned around, looked at my dad, and said, "I never want to play hockey again!" He grabbed my face mask and said, "I did not just spend all that money on hockey pads for you to quit on the first day. You're not quitting."
I went on to play hockey for 12 years.
When you "give up" on something, it encourages the habit. You start to be "ok" with quitting--and that's not good. Resilience is the habit you want to practice here.
5. Your reputation suffers.
If you give up on a project or venture with other people, they're going to remember. And the next time an opportunity comes around, and your name gets brought up, the first thing that's going to be said is, "Oh, last time he gave up."
If you need to step away, or you decide you want to move on to something different, that's fine. But do so in a way that is professional and appropriate to the situation. Throwing your hands up in the air and saying, "I'm done" sets a bad precedent--and people will remember.
6. You never know what it could have been.
They say millionaires have 7 sources of income. Part of that challenge means getting really good at juggling multiple ventures or pursuits at once.
If you give up on ideas in their infancy, you are short-changing your investment. Creating multiple income streams is all about continuing to "water" your ideas over time, allowing them to grow into something of their own. If you give up before an idea has fully matured, you never know what could have been.
7. You practice unhealthy "self talk."
Again, going back to the mindset behind "giving up," the reason why this is so toxic is, depending on your own emotional habits, your subconscious may internalize this "failure." Giving up on something may seem like a quick solution to a larger problem, but the truth is it tends to lead to unhappiness, regret, and feelings of poor self esteem.
If you simply must "give up," then do your best not to punish yourself for it long after the fact.
8. You lose faith in yourself.
And finally, the fundamental reason why you should never "give up" is because it will make you question your ability to execute in the future.
Creating something of value, and being creative, always comes down to how much you believe in yourself and your idea. It doesn't have to do with talent, or "who you know," or any of that. It just comes down to raw core self-esteem, and the willingness to see an idea through to the end.
Don't give up.
It's not worth it.