Michele Attias Life Coach

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Why Giving Up Is Not An Option

Bruce Lee arrived in America in 1959 as a nameless immigrant with $115 in his pocket.

Within 20 years, Time Magazine had named him one of the 100 most influential people in the 21st century, and June 8th was proclaimed Bruce Lee Day in Los Angeles.

This seems short of a miracle when reflecting on Bruce’s journey through time and all the misfortunes and challenges that life threw at him. 

Bruce embodied a life of purpose and his example provided a vehicle for others to embrace their limitless potential. His was not a fast paced success story, but one where he slowly perfected his craft to become known worldwide as a martial artist with a warrior spirit. Not only in command of his body, but also of the mind.

When he was asked to describe his unique style, he answered;

My style? You can call it the art of fighting, without fighting.

He would not be the attacker by exerting himself and make foolish or rash moves, instead he saw himself as the water moulding to the situation. In a fight, he calmly stood firm and allowed his opponent to make the moves to which he would respond and work with.

This became the way he became anchored when times were hard.

So what can we learn from Bruce Lee?

He didn’t give up despite becoming paralysed at the height of his fame, it didn’t deter him when plagued with intense physical pain, which he overcame by writing notes all around the house which said “Go on.”

He found an anchor which kept him rooted to what he wanted to achieve. 

Imagine a boat hovering over the waves, yet can’t drift off too far into the ocean since the anchor brings it straight back to shore. The anchor is that part of you untouched by failures, regrets and recriminations. The one that brings you back to what you truly want by increasing the focus and determination.

Ask yourself;

What is your anchor?

The one factor stopping you from giving up when times get hard.

If you’re considering giving up on what you want, connect to what keeps you in the game. You might have entered desperate times, feel humiliated, balance is running low and resources are waning. The movie playing in the background of your internal world could be worthy of an oscar nomination. 

Such is the high level of acting ability and performance emerging from the imagination. Including vivid imagery, emotion and turning the experience into a deeply personal one. 

If there was a martial art created to fight the mind, I would imagine people would be queuing up to learn it.

Yet inside every one of us there is strength, wellbeing and resilience. Your family, business and humanity depend on your resilience.

A note of caution, there are some battles and situations you need to let go of, but there are others that you fully want to step into.

As I look back on my own life, it’s evident that life without meaning, growth or challenges is a life not worth living. Even more importantly it forces you to dip into your inner resources and ask deeper questions which can be soul enriching.

I wouldn’t trade what I have now, despite the ups and downs and difficult path I have had to walk. In exchange for the stable, staid and numb existence when all is neatly planned, controlled and scheduled. It can feel like a spiritual death, instead of the sense of energy and aliveness that wakes you up each morning when you’ve had to walk on fire to get to this point.

Rock Musician Peter Gabriel composed the lyrics of the song ‘Don’t give up’ about a man whose unemployment causes stress in his life. It describes the man’s feelings of isolation and at times despair. The chorus (sang by Kate Bush) offers hope and encouragement. 

Here’s a segment of the lyrics;

Drove the night toward my home, The place that I was born, on the lakeside, 

As daylight broke, I saw the earth, The trees had burned down to the ground,

Don’t give up, We don’t need much of anything,

Don’t give up, ’Cause somewhere there’s a place, Where we belong,

Rest your head, You worry too much, It’s going to be alright, 

When times get rough, You can fall back on us, Don’t give up.

It’s often too hard to live in uncertainty. To slash the demons that envelop you each time you feel rejected, a venture collapses, a sale falls through, a client drops out and no one is interested when you launch your shiny new product.

You might be looking for more meaning, purpose and happiness in life. 

There’s also fear and anxiety, which invites you to give up too soon. The mind overtakes like a dark cloud of fog and it’s impossible to see any further forward, rather than waiting until the fog clears to take the next step

Bruce Lee experienced moments of true despair. Left with $50 in his pocket when work and money dried up, forcing him to sell his home. I imagine him bent over with pain when his body became paralysed, eating a piece of crusty bread and a tin of canned soup for sustenance when at his lowest point. 

Perseverance won the battle which had been raging in his mind. The contrary would have kicked him to the ground in a more aggressive way than any of his fighting opponents could have done.

If we give up in our minds, we give up in our body and then the battle has been lost.

Life happens and it’s impossible to stop events unraveling, but you can choose the response. You can connect to the anchor that keeps you firmly in the game and reminds you why you must never give up.

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