"Never give in" - Attitude and learning

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

- Winston Churchill


Confession: I came across this in an episode of Billions. Since then, I haven't stopped thinking about it. Maybe it's the way Chuck says it. Or maybe it's the fact I've just decided to turn up the heat on this obsession with learning and self-improvement. The babies are settled now and I feel ready to bring some more structure into my approach to revisiting French, learning to code and getting to my peak level of fitness. But it's not just about structure - it's about attitude. 

"Never give in. Never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty..." 

Imagine cultivating that attitude. Not just for the big stuff but for the smallest things. Imagine making that a "habit", something so natural, so tightly woven into the fabric of who you are and how you do things. Imagine that filtering into every aspect of your life. Churchill caveats it, of course:

"...never give in - except to convictions of honour and good sense." 

Never give in...except when it's the right thing to do, the sensible thing to do. This is the kind of willpower you need if you're working on a project like this. When you're the master of your own time, it's easy to yield to the "overwhelming might" of distractions. It's also easy to feel overwhelmed. In this digital age we have hundreds and thousands of resources at our disposal. It's an all-you-can eat buffet out there. The more you read, the less you know. And being able to see all these wonderful examples of what other people have achieved is a double-edged sword - it's inspiring, uplifting, yes...but gazing at that canyon between you, that long road ahead can make you feel so small, so insignificant. 

People talk about steep "learning curves". The truth is, they aren't always "curves". More often that not, they're more jagged than that. One day you have a breakthrough - you're on top of the world, mentally hi-fiving everyone you pass in the street that day - other days you're stuck, feeling low. Then you get back into it, you plateau, then another breakthrough and you're accelerating. And so on and so on. 

That's where you need that attitude. That's what's going you see you through it all. Eye on the goal, that track from Rocky playing in your head (or whatever works for you). Actually, more than eye on the "goal", eye on your "WHY" - you have to know why you're doing something. What's your purpose? If you want something that badly, you'll go after it with all your heart. And you'll "never give in."