Sometimes in life you need to sit down and accept defeat. I’ve always been a supporter of persistence, grit, whatever you want to call it, putting your eye on the prize and keep moving towards it until you reach there. But to be wise is also to know the optimum conditions at which to throw in the towel, hang the boot and call it quits. Especially when you realize that the price that you are paying for a rerun – the emotional and psychological price – is much higher than the benefit you could gain out of the prize.
And also, don’t forget that in some cases it never really is about the prize as much as it is about the journey. The lessons you might have learnt from the failures could be priceless and applied elsewhere. It’s what Randy Pausch called a “head fake” or “indirect learning in his Last Lecture. When he was talking about how he dreamt of playing in the National Football League, but did not make it, he said,” but I probably got more from that dream and not accomplishing it than I got from any of the ones that I did accomplish. When we send our kids out to play football, we actually don’t want our kids to learn football, we send our kids out to learn much more important things. Teamwork, sportsmanship, perseverance. And these kinds of head fake learning are absolutely important. And you should keep your eye out for them because they’re everywhere.”