Find that which drives you when all else fails

The Last Magic Straw That Stops me From Giving up

For me It’s The People who Matter

4 min readFeb 20, 2021
A flock of birds fly over Lake Victoria in the backdrop of a magical sunset. Photography by yours truly.

‘The pot breaks at the doorstep’; an adage by my kinsmen who used to fetch water afar in earthen pots, balancing all the way only for the pot to break at the doorstep! You should hear it in my native language, it sounds interesting..anyway, back to the point..Do you ever get to the doorstep and want to break the pot? Not caring about giving up not being an option? Overwhelmed by the feeling that you have expended all energy? I do too. But just at the verge of saying, ‘ok I give up’, There is one thing that yields the feeling that,

‘maybe one more try isn’t that bad afterall’.

There are options like: Turning to uncle google, talking to someone, analysing the situation further, journaling, weighing the pros and cons, etc. Sometimes I go through all these but still feel like the best pick is to let go.

Amidst all that turmoil, for me there’s an alternative that stands out as the ultimate motivator that holds me back just at the brink of throwing in the towel; a small circle of people that keep me going when I no longer believe in all else.

That is, a thought of the people who look up to and believe in me! I think of:

The few people I have worked with who believe(d) I was the best there was.

My coaches and mentors. They expect me to put their precepts to use, go the extra mile, give it my best and make it in life.

A few friends who, whenever I talk to about my being at a breaking point, say,

‘Sylvia, you know we look up to you, like and admire many things about you, how do you expect us to have an answer for you or know what to do if you give up?’

Two friends recently told me that, and I had to quickly get myself together and look like i knew what I was doing!

My many nieces, nephews and younger siblings who look up to me. Especially my niece-who is kind of a daughter to me-she puts me on a pedestal! I know she’s watching and will emulate what I do believing it is the right way. She excitedly talks about me to her friends and anyone who cares to listen, she believes I’m rich-literally lol-and that I work at Central Bank (I don’t) and that I’m very beautiful…Now, how on earth could I possibly do something to make her think otherwise of me?! And if not because of how she thinks of me, then due to the fact that she will grow knowing that, ‘what auntie did is the way to go in such sutuations’. Giving up will make her believe in something to the contrary, and sabotage her success..I cannot stand being responsible for that!

My sweet nephew who asks me sooo many questions! You know the seemingly obvious questions kids innocently ask? Those ones! Nevertheless, it leaves me in awe of their cute unaware curiosity and hunger for knowledge. His questions are extraordinary, they sometimes make me uncomfortable! Often after I give an explanation, he says, ‘ok’, and that’s it!...I have to confess, at times it annoys me, and I almost say, ‘so what the hell did you want to know that for?!’…But then we shouldn’t swear at kids, right?

Most importantly, it reminds me that they expect answers from me whatsoever, and so I have to always hold my head up high and be the hero; because some answers are conveyed in action and not verbally.

The kids and teenagers I mentor at a community study center. I volunteer in a program where I teach life skills topics that help to mould them into better adults. They make my heart melt; When they ask me questions, tell me ‘thanks’, look up to me, the way their faces light up upon learning a new thing, or when perusing a story book, their excitement, curiosity, hope, and hunger for success….

These things in their eyes make me believe in the impossible, they make me hopeful. And oh how could I ever give up when there is so much expectation to live up to and to hope for?!!

My mum, who thinks I work way too hard…Now, I have to make good that picture I have painted in her eyes and show some fruits of my ‘labor’! To boot, she never gave up on me but instead put in too much sweat, blood and unfathomable sacrifices to get me here. So, no I can’t let her down.

Then…then I think,

“how could I possibly face any of these people and tell them, ‘hey, I have thrown in the towel’???”

I can’t, or at least I don’t know how to properly phrase that statement to them, and it looks like i will never find the right words. So until then, there’s no giving up..

At this point….in my terrible karaoke voice-only in my head, because if I sing out loud, the situation would flip and my people would all give up on me-I sing Shawn Mendes’ song ‘In my blood’…because it isn’t in my blood to give up…not yet…never!

You too can find that one dealbreaker that after all else, will undo the deal with that inner voice that occasionally tells you, ‘give up already!’




I see extra in the ordinary & use words to paint it; fueled by a quest for mental health. Lover of forests, fitness, nature, good food & reading & a coffee snob