Okay, remember that solitaire game? I now find that, in spite of the helpful “not winnable” message the game gives, nudging me to give up, I have an overwhelming desire to see how far I can go.
“Well, it says ‘not winnable,’” I think. “But maybe it’s wrong. Is it truly ‘not winnable’ right now? Maybe I can trick it into changing its mind. How un-winnable is it really? How many more moves do I have? How many cards will be left?”
And the amount of effort I’ve already put in makes a big difference. If the “not winnable” sign comes up within the first flip through the deck, it’s a lot easier to hit “new game” than if I’ve stacked all the suits up to six or seven.
I think this compulsion to see how far we can go is simply part of our nature. “If I go a little farther, maybe I will learn something I didn’t know before, even if the end result is not going to be what I want.” We are encouraged from our youth to stick to things, to see them through.
Maybe the advice of “if it’s hopeless, give it up,” is a little too simplistic. Examining your motives in hanging on is important. Why don’t you want to let go? Is hanging on harming you in some way, or are you still learning something new about yourself?