“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation…”

I want to talk about giving up. When I think of giving up, the runner in me puts it into a racing or workout context. It might be not finishing hard, cutting off a few miles just because I’m mentally bored or cross-training when a run was on my workout plan. I do not mean this in the sense of neededΒ a recovery or rest day. I mean this specifically in the context of that you could have done it and did not for no reason.


Another type of giving up occurs everyday in the lives of people around us. Henry David Thoreau said “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.”

What this means is that many of us go through the motions of life everyday in a self-fulfilling prophecy of mediocrity. We wake-up, go to a job that makes us money but we aren’t passionate about, come home to a family that isn’t happy and turn to social media, substance or some other addiction to escape our situation.


In my life I see this so much when I look at my older brother. I pray so hard for him because he really needs to get out of his current situation. He has settled for the “easy” (relatively speaking because farming is challenging) of having my dad for a boss and never needed to go out and experience the world.

I see this in my friend who is afraid of some parts of the world and does not believe in herself yet to control her destiny.

I know both of these people have the power to not lead a desperate life, but if they do not believe it my words have no power.

I have live a life of “settling” in the past and it took a lot of work to get out of the rut I was in. I believed in the cookie cutter American life of school–>job–>family and anything less was “unacceptable”.

It wasn’t until I decided to take control of my own life, be willing to fail and get my hands dirty that I changed my thinking and started to have control over my life and happiness. I do not get fulfillment out of the cookie cutter life. I am not someone who will ever do things that way. That is ok. Accepting my differences led me out of my desperate life. I no longer sought to please the status quo or family, I sought to be happy with myself. I am so much better for it.

How did I get here?

1.) Combating negative thinking. I either said out loud or wrote down the truths I should believe about myself whether I actually believed them or not. I fought against the lies placed in my head.

2.) Living alone. I had to learn to be ok being alone. Through this I learned to love myself and take care of myself. I also grew the self confidence in making my own way. I know I can survive and thrive on my own.

3.) Removing toxic people. I ignored my family for a long time. I could not deal with their negativity while I was busy fighting my own. Once I got my thinking straight, I was more willing to deal with them. It took years for this to happen, but now things are looking up. I have more confidence in who I am and they are more respectful.

Do you ever feel like you’ve given up to the normalcy of life?

How do you break the cycle?Β 


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