On the Atlantic I felt really trapped. Trapped on a boat that was going far more slowly than I had expected. Trapped by my own stubborn pride into not quitting, no matter what. Trapped by the relentless routine of 12 hours of rowing a day.

Then one day, my mother gave me a gift.

perseveranceWe were talking on the satellite phone, and she told me that a couple more of the crews competing in the Atlantic Rowing Race, in which I was also a competitor, had arrived in Antigua. Of course, as the only solo female in the race, I could be expected to be slower than the other crews, but it still stung. I was so incredibly envious of them being back on dry land. I would have given almost anything to be ashore.

I confess, I had a bit of a cry.

And my mother, bless her, resisted the urge to point out that it was all my own stupid fault. Instead, she said, “Rosalind, do you want to give up? We could ask the support boat to come and get you. You’ve given it a good shot. Nobody would think less of you if you gave up now.”

My first reaction was, “YES, I want to give up!!!”

But almost immediately a second response kicked in. I knew that my future self would never forgive my present self if I gave up now (see my article on the Retrospective Perspective). I had put all my savings and 14 months of my life into preparing for this. There was no way I was going to quit.

giving upSo I said to her, “No, Mum. I’m going to carry on. It’s really hard, but I know it will be worth it in the end.”

And I went back to my oars, determined to row every last stroke until I reached land.

What my dear old Mum did for me in that moment was to remind me that I had a choice. I didn’t have to stay on the boat. There were options. And she allowed me to dig deep and find the will to carry on. I went from the weakness of “I’m trapped” to the strength of “I choose to persevere”.

We all, always, have a choice. There is always a way to give up, opt out, escape our situation. So if we choose to keep on keeping on, we can give ourselves a pat on the back and say, “well done, you chose to stay the course”.




  • How true is that !……historically I have faced (minor in terms of rowing an ocean) issues and thought ” nooooo – can’t do that “…sometimes I did not do it and regretted it.
    Latterly I try very hard to continue with the , threat/ motivation of ” how will I feel if I don’t” question. It does pay dividends but us not always easy , depending on your angst threshold.

    BRAVO to your Mum…and You 🙂

    D C

    • Hi David. I think the “Retrospective Perspective” really helps in those angst-ridden moments. Thinking about what will make you proud of how you chose to conduct yourself can be really clarifying. Good luck!

  • Thank you, Roz! We get so wrapped up in the everyday of life and its frustrations. It’s reassuring to read your blog – yes, we want to give up but there is that second voice of perseverance. We just have to be reflective enough to listen to it. Teachers everywhere can relate!

    • Teachers are amazing! As are parents, nurses, carers, volunteers, and all the amazing people who somehow find the strength to keep on showing up and sticking their (metaphorical) oars in the water, day after day.

  • Quitting is not weakness.
    We are human-being and quitting is an option.
    When I can accept quitting, I feel I am not trapped.
    And I would ask myself “what is your options positively?”.
    This will lead me to my vision and purpose.
    So allow the option of quitting and embrace options beyond quitting.

    Happy as Larry

  • “When you feel like quitting think about why you started.” is very important sentence. How about people who don’t even know the reasons why they keep on?Or people who don’t even know why they live for?I am really, strongly grateful for knowing my reasons.

    Thank you for keeping our motivation high by writing your post every week.

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