If I could say one thing to the young people of today, it would be this: Never give up. Keep trying and pushing and struggling, even if you don’t know what your goal is or why you would want to achieve it.
As you march down the street not giving up, hold your head high and swing your elbows. People will recognize you as someone who won’t give up, and they will get out of your way. Some of them will even hide.
Some will try to discourage you. They’ll say that what you’re doing is “illegal,” or a “sin,” or a violation of the health code. They may cling to your legs, causing you to drag them along, or jump onto your back, pleading, “In the name of God, please stop what you’re doing!”
Keep going. Rest assured, they’re jealous.Get the best of The New Yorker every day, in your in-box.Sign me up
“We’re not jealous, honestly,” they may say. “Just please stop!” Maybe you’ve struck a nerve.
“No, you haven’t struck a nerve,” they’ll say. “What you’re doing is just awful, and we’d like you to stop!”
Let that be your inspiration. Shake off the naysayers and trudge on, through the mud and the filth and the slime, knowing that you have a higher purpose. Remember, nobody liked van Gogh’s work, and if nobody likes yours it’s probably a sign that you’re a genius.
Look to the horizon. See that little dot? No, not that one—the one that’s even farther out. You can barely see it. Now don’t stop until you reach it. Take out your machete and hack a new path through the jungle, even if there is an old path just a few feet away. Fend off the monkeys of “good manners” and the sloths of “patience.”
We are born with the instinct not to give up. As babies, we cry and scream until we get what we want. But somewhere along the line we lose that ability. People talk us out of our crazy ideas—people who live in the so-called real world, where things “make sense.” They’ve never attempted the impossible. But you have, many, many times.
Keep pushing ahead—not in a way that seems pushy but in a way that says you won’t stop. Some people say you shouldn’t bang your head against a wall. Tell that to the woodpecker.
Along the way, there will be compromises—bribes and torture and “hunting accidents.” You may have to engage in unnatural sex acts. But don’t give up. With each unnatural sex act, you will be one step closer to your goal.
When you finally reach the first stage of success, congratulate yourself. But remember that there are twenty-four more stages of success.
Some people may ask, “If I take a rest, even a little one, is that the same as giving up?” Yes, it is. But if you need to pretend to give up—so that people will leave you alone—go ahead. Then keep doing what you do, but even harder.
Several years ago, there was a man who wouldn’t give up. He was just an actor, but he had bigger things in mind, in the world of politics. People tried to talk him out of his wild-eyed notions, but he wouldn’t listen. And that man was John Wilkes Booth.
Keep pushing and scraping and clawing and begging. Even in your dreams, don’t give up. If you dream that you are wearing nothing but underpants, try to make them expensive, executive underpants.
Eventually, all your determination will pay off. The same people who mocked your ideas and tackled you will now claim to love your vision. “We love it! We love it!” they’ll say. They’ll tell you that the governor is interested in your ideas and will bundle you off in a car to the governor’s mansion. But when you pass under the stone archway you’ll notice that it doesn’t say “Governor’s Mansion” but “Insane Asylum.” Jump out of the car and run into the woods. Keep running. Never give up running. ♦
Author Name: Jack Handey
Link to Author’s Profile: https://www.newyorker.com/contributors/jack-handey
Link to Native Article: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/17/never-give-up