Never give up! This axiom can push us to forge ahead and accomplish great things, even when we begin to doubt our capabilities. On a macro scale, it’s good advice, since you should never give up on life itself. However, if you grit your teeth and refuse to give up on any challenge, you’ll soon find yourself up against the classic paradox of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. If the task you’re working towards is impossible — at least for the moment — your efforts could be better utilized elsewhere.

Here’s an example that’s relevant to survival: say you’re trying to stay alive in the wilderness, and each day you attempt to catch fish on the shoreline. But, after several days of casting your line, you catch nothing. In this situation, it may be a wiser choice to divert your effort towards foraging for wild edibles, or setting traps for small rodents. Maintaining tunnel vision on catching fish could lead to starvation. Giving up may be the best choice in this case.

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While motivational posters may tell us to hang in there, it’s advisable to be realistic about challenges. Some can be overcome, and you’ll need to give them 100% of your focus and determination. In other cases, it may be wiser to stop trying — scientific research shows that giving up can be good for your physical health, your mental health, and your overall productivity. The following infographic from NetCredit lists nine scientifically-supported benefits of giving up. Click here to download a full-size version of this infographic.

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