The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens. Don’t give up.—The Internet*

Usually? Really? Usually when the miracle happens?

If miracles are usual, are they really miracles?

This is one of those squishy motivational quotes that goes around the Internet and makes people feel good, but that has no real substance at all. Scrutinize them too hard and they melt into a sticky mess, like strawberry ice cream on a hot sidewalk.

Nothing against perseverance, I’m 100 percent in favor of it. But a quote that guarantees a miracle is lying to you.

Miracles are never guaranteed, that’s what makes them so damn miraculous. (Click to tweet.) So if you’re hitting your head against a brick wall, waiting for that last-minute miracle, chances are pretty good you’re going to end up with a concussion instead.

Keep trying as long as it’s smart, but at some point, you might want to step back and regroup, perhaps take another tactic. No miracle is going to come along and turn a bad approach good. Sometimes you need to quit because things just plain aren’t working out. You know that old saying about can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear? Yeah, that’s true. Barring, of course, a miracle.

And if perseverance pays off because you’ve worked your ass off, do you really want to hand credit over to a miracle? Well, maybe you do. Maybe you’re that kind of person. But I prefer to credit hard work, perhaps kindness of strangers (or friends or family), maybe some luck—things that, to some degree, are down-to-earth and at least somewhat under my control.

I don’t actually believe in miracles, but I’m cynical. Still, even if you do, wouldn’t you have to admit that there is no usually when it comes to miracles? Miracles are most unusual indeed.

I’m not saying you should give up when the going gets tough. Just that it’s probably not a good idea to hold out for a  miracle. Maybe you need a Plan B instead.

* I saw this attributed on one blog to pastor Rick Godwin, but only on that one blog so I don’t know.

Photo of girl blowing fairy dust is available from Shutterstock.



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    Last reviewed: 9 Nov 2012

APA Reference
Dembling, S. (2012). Keep Trying, But Don’t Count On A Miracle. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2015, from



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