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Smart Emmanuel: Why You Shouldn’t Quit in the Face of Defeat

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As we work hard towards our goals, the importance of problem diagnosis, accurate data gathering, strategic planning and calculated risk-taking cannot be overstated. Despite best efforts, on many occasions, plans fail woefully and painfully so. The best business strategists and warriors have had their fair share of losses and defeats. Some crazy event they never saw coming happened. It came in different forms to different people. For many individuals and businesses, it was COVID-19. For some, it’s the loss of a loved one. In some cases, it’s an accident that leaves them paralysed. For some, it’s the end of a relationship. These ugly events can be brutal and shocking when they happen to us.

When these brutal events happen, a close decision or option that comes to mind is quitting. For some people, quitting seems like a reasonable option just because they tend to be understanding and compassionate. The world mostly understands when we take a bow in our lowest moments. While some will criticise a loyal soldier who is unable to fight anymore for quitting having sustained hundreds of gunshot wounds, some will also applaud him for a fight well fought and thank him for his service. Quitting sounds fair when defeat is sure and there is no known path forward.

However, as history revealed, we must remember that our world won’t have come this far if brave men and women quit in the face of defeat. No one might judge you for quitting but just before you quit, you must ask: Is this my goal? There are some goals we cannot afford to quit on simply because defeat is sure. Why would a mother hen resist attackers of her chicks even when she knows she is outmatched and will be defeated? She understands that certain ambitions are too essential to give up in the face of failure. She understands that fate occasionally favours the brave. She understands that everything isn’t over until life is over. She realises that her existence will be meaningless without her chicks, especially after witnessing her enemies carry them away without attempting to stop them.

Humans are not created with the ability to walk on water. But when walking on water is the only available option, you might be surprised how powerful your move will be on the water. One of the most important skills in the journey to success is grit. Persistent people succeed because they keep trying till they have no more life in them. They see their goal as more important than their retirement.

In 2009, I wrote my favourite quote: “If we must lose anything, it shouldn’t be hope.” In moments of great defeat and great suffering, hope is the only medicine that can keep us going because a goal, no matter how small it seems, is too important to quit on. Moving forward might not make sense, and so does quitting on an important goal. In my experience, I’ve seen myself and my clients win against all odds when defeat was sure simply because we hoped and tried again. This is true for everyone. You will be surprised how many new insights will be unlocked when you walk in the dark because you can’t sit down and watch your world come crumbling.



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Smart Emmanuel is an accomplished entrepreneur, bestselling author of Make What Customers Want (Create Global Brands), A Sales Man’s Story (Tales Of Sales Success), Letters To My Daughter (A Fathers View On Gender Equality) and EFETURI (There Are Many Paths To Wealth) and arguably Africa’s leading Sales and Brand Growth Strategist and Product Development Expert. Mr. Smart has spent the last thirteen (13) years helping to transform individuals and businesses, teaching strategic selling and brand building, designing and implementing sales systems and led the creation, design and launch of one of the fastest selling cookie brand in Africa – Nibit Mini Snacks. Personal website is

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