Bamboo. It’s a funny kind of plant. You can plant it, tender the soil, feed it and nourish it. Nothing happens for about 2 to 3 years. Then suddenly, it will grow about 18 feet in around 3 weeks (These are approximate figures but I cannot be bothered to wiki it)

Our lives and especially our businesses are rather the same. Sometimes we can be working away for ages waiting for things to take off or results to come in. If we persist, like the bamboo, we can quite often and unexpectedly get mammoth results.

I am sure you have heard about how many people give up when they were inches away from getting their big break.

So sometimes, your efforts may look fruitless but by persisting, you can win the day. The prize will eventually be yours.

But is there a time when we should stop pursuing our dreams, goals or ambitions?

I believe there is. Knowing when is a skill; an art form almost.

Knowing when to quit on something can be hard. And the longer we have pursued something and the more effort we have put into it, the harder that decision is

Why is this? because there is the Law of Concerted Effort to contend with. What this means is the more time and effort we have invested in something, and this can be a relationship, a project or even a business, the less likely we are to actually give up on it, even when the evidence is telling us to.

This Law almost turns us blind to facts.

I have coached entrepreneurs who were leaking large amounts of money and still wouldn’t give up their pursuit of trying to make it work. They weren’t willing to change their strategy either. That’s how powerful this Law can be. It can defy all logic and reason.

I have known others in relationships do the same thing. One party clearly does not want to be there but the other carries on pursuing in the vain hope they will win the day.

I am not a relationship coach but once I did offer my services in the light that I could give a couple some clarity or a new perspective through coaching.

The guy in the relationship, who had made a grave error a year earlier, still genuinely thought he could win her over. So they came to see me.

Little did they know what I would ask them first.

Having established good rapport with both of them I dived straight in. “Right,” I said, “Let me ask you first and foremost, before anything else is discussed, is this relationship worth saving?”

The woman burst in to tears. “No” she cried, “No. And I am so relieved you have asked me” She then got up and left. It was all over. My experience of people and body language etc, told me to ask that one question straight off.

Now I don’t tell people to give up on things. But sometimes you have to. The entrepreneur who did not let go of his business when I advised he probably should, lost a further 100k and went through needless stress (He is doing well now incidentally).

The guy in the aforementioned relationship could have saved himself 6 months of emotional pain and heartache.

Sometimes we have to give up on our dreams

I read a story of a guy who wanted to be a singer. He recorded a few songs and compiled a CD. It flopped. So he gave up. However, he didn’t give up on pursuing something creative. He became a writer. If memory serves me right it was Dan Brown who went on to become a multi-million bestselling author of The DaVinci Code and other books.

So there are times when we are actually flogging that proverbial deadhorse.

I hate to leave you with no advice about what that knowing is, but I can’t in a blog. It is quite difficult to do. And even harder on your own. However, I may well have switched a light on in your mind and helped you come to your senses over a dead horse you could be flogging.

Or I may have switched a light off.

I would say if in business then go get a business coach or speak to an entrepreneur who has experience of giving up on one thing but being successful in something else.

Alternatively, you can pay me. If not me, then find yourself a good coach who can help you.

So maybe you need to take a cold-hearted, brutal look at what dreams or goals you are pursuing?

You could end up saving yourself time, money or even heartache.