Thursday, 5 May 2016

Letter to my daughter: Don't give up.

Dearest daughter, don't give up. That is the one thing you need to know about life. Don't give up. It is encouraging how life opens doors for you if you don't give up.

Of course, you can't be doing everything and persist like a deluded mule. Your time and resources are limited. You have to choose your battles, pick your fights. Some things are just worth fighting for. Some things reward you beyond the immediate and material. They are priceless.

Relationship is one of them. Character is another. Controlling your carnal appetite is yet another. I can name others but you get the picture.

They are worth your time and effort because they transform you when you persevere. And the transformation is value added. You become better. You experience granular improvement. You move forward with every step taken. You are perfecting yourself, making the change towards completeness.

It is like spring cleaning where you remove the clutter from your soul piece by piece. You give yourself more room to grow, more breathing space to change. The process can be painstaking at times but the progress however small is deep and empowering.

Darling, you can always draw inspiration from never giving up because what you don't give up changes you. Let me explain.

I will not always be around to encourage you. Neither will your mom be. But let the progress you make - every little step forward - remind you that you have come too far to ever make giving up worth giving up. In other words, you draw strength from knowing that you are one step closer to your goal. You build hope from having closed the gap even if it is only by that tiny estate. You allow resilience to nudge you in the direction that you have set your heart and soul on.

Every step forward therefore counts and every great accomplishment cannot do without every one of those small steps. That is how you make never giving up a prize you can't afford to give up. That is how you strengthen your resolve to fight for what is worth fighting for.

At times, it is mainly mind over matter. But if you mind it, my dear, you make giving up matter. And it matters because it just costs too much.

Daughter, this doesn't just apply to your studies, job hunting, career and promotion. It also applies to finding love, hope, beauty, meaning, purpose, faith and trust in people and relationships - if not more so.

In life, people will disappoint you. They will. It's part and parcel of living. Even people you trust and love may let you down. You may let them down too. This is one of the basic rules of life: "You just can't control outcomes."

My dear, not every sincere effort expended is bound to go upstream for you. Sometimes they go downstream, and unexpectedly. You can't prevent it. And most times, it's not your fault.

But don't let a grade, a reprimand, a disappointment, a hope lost, a shame, a mistake,  a failure, a pain, even a betrayal cause you to give it all up. Don't let them derail you. Life is really much bigger than that and you are far stronger than you give yourself credit for.

And when any of that happens, the bad stuff, it is alright to feel the way you ought to feel. You will be affected. You will feel down. But while outcomes are beyond your control, your response to them is within your control. And this is where not giving up features most prominently. You therefore change what you can change and allow what you can change change what you can't.

That too is one of life's basic rules. It is also life's most empowering rule because when you respond to life's challenges with perseverance, you will be amazed at what you can overcome. You will also be amazed at how far you can go to make the difference in your life and the life of others through your example.

And when you choose to embrace love, hope, beauty, meaning, purpose, faith and trust as you advance forward, life pays you back in kind. She rewards you in ways most satisfying.

With love, you are richer. With hope, you see above the storms. With beauty, you live with such depth and awe. With meaning and purpose, you are never lost. With faith, you are fulfilled. And with trust, you become more human. All this, my child, are the fruits of perseverance, the harvest of your labor.

So, after all’s said, it still needs to be said with conviction, "Don't give up." Pass this down to your children the same way I have passed it down to you here. Better still, live it out in your life and let your offspring embrace it in their hearts. For life is what happens to you when you show up. Success is what happens to you when you stay the course. And never giving up is what living to the fullest is all about. Love daddy. Cheerz.

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