“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.”
It was the greatest feeling in the world when, aged 22, Oprah Winfrey became the 6 o’clock news anchor on Baltimore’s top TV network.
But it didn’t last for long.
One day after a local child’s funeral the assistant news director screamed in her face.
“You go BACK and you ASK the family for comment!”
She couldn’t do it.
She wouldn’t do it.
It was the moment that Oprah’s dream shattered.
Within months, she went from being top of the world to questioning if this career was for her after all.
And then an opportunity came knocking…
She was asked to host a failing half-hour morning show for A.M. Chicago.
No breaking news.
And her show became a national hit.
Everything that made her news anchor job a disaster – her emotion, her connection to each story – kickstarted the second-half of her life as America’s best known talk show host.
So what’s the takeaway here?
In fact, it’s a takeaway for us both.
We got a response from a reader of The Tonic who disagreed with an email talking about ‘never giving up’.
Here’s an extract:
“There’s things you fail to mention about never giving up… It’s not always reality. I think you have to know when to cut your losses in any situation and move on. I’m not saying ‘give up’. But at some point you have to be realistic. Sometimes you have to change your priorities and face reality.”
We totally agree.
Sometimes due to health, due to your nature, due to your age…
The thing you wanted just isn’t working out anymore.
Our society praises suffering.
We’re told again and again that ‘never giving up’ is the be-all-and-end-all of success.
But it’s not the best advice.
What we meant to say is probably more like this: Never lose hope.
Even when your wildest dream becomes your worst nightmare…
There’s wisdom in cutting your losses and waiting for the next opportunity to come knocking.