BEING autistic, my life saw me sitting in my bedroom, only leaving the house for a few hours a week. I still live with my parents in my 30s and long for the day when I can have a dog as a companion.
In 2018 I published my debut novel Harmony’s Big Decision, which was not as successful as I had hoped. For a time, I even wondered if I should continue writing.
Having nothing to get up for, I felt like my life was going nowhere, trapped in the same vicious circle. Depression started to set in, self-doubt and wondering what my purpose was.
Everything changed for me in May 2020, when I joined Talkback UK as a member. Things started to change for the better. My confidence began to grow when I joined their weekly social group online. I had people other than my parents to talk to. Little did I know that 10 months later things would get even better.
In May 2021 Talkback UK offered me employment as part of their communications team and training project. It felt great that, after years of being on benefits, I was going to be earning my own money. It also made me realise my purpose in life is to help people like me get the recognition they deserve.
I still write my novels, as I now have the belief that someday they may become successful. Currently working on the sequel to Harmony’s Big Decision.
I had lost all hope in life, but with the positivity working for Talkback has given me, I now believe anything I would like to do is possible.
Never Give Up Day, an event celebrated on the 18th of August, is about awakening our determination and self-belief. Turning our can’t-do attitude into a can-do attitude. Some people are born with a never give up mindset, whereas others must work hard to overcome the negative can’t-do mindset.
Negative Is Natural
The human brain is wired to focus on negative thoughts. Negative events have a greater impact on our brains than positive events. This is known as negative bias or negativity bias.
This is the result of evolution from early human history when being alerted to bad, dangerous and negative threats in the world was a matter of life and death. It is our brain’s way of protecting us, keeping us safe.
Although we need more positivity to succeed and achieve, we also do not want to lose the natural protection and safety which comes from a negative mindset.
Some of the more positive things we could think about are:
- You are not the first person to feel this way. Everyone has negative thoughts and days when they feel like they have failed.
- You have choices. There is no right or wrong way to succeed, only the way that works best for you.
- Be proud of every small win. Every achievement has small steps leading towards it. Instead of only celebrating when you reach your achievement, be just as proud of each successful step towards it.
- Figure out why you are failing. We all have times when we fail. The negative mindset tells us to give up. Try using the positive mindset of – I have failed, why? What can I do next time to change a negative outcome into a positive one? The lessons learned from failing are what make us stronger.
- Stop comparing. Something that is natural for us to do is compare ourselves to others. We are all different, so although progression might be slower, the result could end up being better in the end. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and the best thing we can do is play to our strengths.
- Quitting is not an option. Our brains naturally tell us to quit when things get tough. Fight back and tell yourself that quitting is not an option. It might be tough, but I will succeed.
- Have strong support. Make sure to surround yourself with people who offer encouragement and tell you, you can do it. We need people to help us fill our minds with positive thoughts, not negative ones. They are not there to tell you how to do things, but they might be able to give you a nudge in the right direction.
The aim of the Never Give Up Campaign is to give us more determination and to think with a more positive mindset. It is also important to remember a negative mindset is not all bad. This is how we learn, improve, and stay safe. Mistakes = Learning = Experience.
By Nicola Martin