As right as we all are, admitting defeat can be the least obvious thing to do when things aren’t working out. But, in the end, it’s an extremely effective strategy that can save you loads of heartache, pain, and wasted time.

How, Exactly, Are We Defeated?

Defeat is broad, but in this case I am specifically referring to “when life isn’t working out”.

Surely, we have all experienced this at times. I worked a job once that had me dreading each and every day, long hours in a small, hot room staring at a screen where I worked on (what I felt) was meaningless. I have made mistakes that cost me friendships. I have not acted in my best interest by throwing away hundreds of hours of my precious youth through YouTube meme compilations. I have been, at times, a mess.

But, while I am in these low-points, everything I do seems right. I often can’t imagine any other way of being, because imagining that I could be doing something better and different makes me feel terrible about myself.

So, that is what I mean by defeat: You are living a life that you don’t want, or are otherwise unsatisfied with.

Moving Forward After Admitting Defeat

If you don’t believe that things can improve, then they probably won’t. Even if they do, since you wouldn’t be believing in improvement, it would go unnoticed. So, the first step is to admit defeat–admit to yourself that things could be better.

Change is such a constant force of nature. All day, everyday, until the end of time; the universe and world we live in will be changing. Believing that things cannot change is not only false, it’s possibly detrimental.

So, after admitting to yourself that things are not going the way you hope, you’ve open the door to change.

What Comes After Admitting Defeat?

After accepting defeat, it’s time to use that force of change to your advantage. It may seem strange at first, but just try something new. Try to find something new (that you’re currently not at all doing) and things will certainly change.

For example, I was dissatisfied with my social life. I’m currently working from home and it’s so easy to fall into this trap of making meals, working, sleeping, and being entertained in the same few hundred square feet.

Obvious to everyone but me, my wellbeing began to deteriorate. I started looking for ways to improve my life, (new recipes, new shows, new books) but didn’t think broad enough to just… go outside. I accepted defeat, nothing was working, and I thought of ways I could do something new. I tried going to the park, but it wasn’t quite good enough. Now, I work at a local cafe when writing these articles, and it’s been a wonderful change so far. I feel much more connected and satisfied by expanding outside of my apartment, and it perfectly helped me out.

Is Admitting Defeat Worth It?

Homemade sushi, this was totally something new for me.

One of my readers sent me a private message, saying

Sounds bleak, but in reality: What makes it more rewarding to do something that’s not tiktok when tiktok can so easily satisfy your bare minimum dopamine

– Reader

Great question.

It’s hard to see change or to see things differently when everything seems “good enough” or “alright”. Accepting defeat–saying “this is not what I really want”–will provide powerful perspective to realize that things are not living up to your expectations.

By admitting defeat, you will see that TikTok (or alternatives) is not actually satisfying your bare needs. If you are truly fine and happy to live the life you are living, then go ahead! But, if you find yourself asking questions or otherwise being perpetually dissatisfied, maybe TikTok isn’t actually satisfying your bare dopamine.

Some Things To Try

I wrote an article called How To Maximize Your Misery. This article talks about the common ways we make our lives terrible, and maybe picking one of those (if you do it) would be wise to adjust to the favorable case.

I am having a great time recently with this, because each tiny change compounds. Sleeping at a regular time gives me more energy to go for walks and workout–increasing my physical activity, wellbeing, and health.

Side note: Be sure to set SMART goals. The acronym seems SO stupid at first, and I never did it, until I did. What a fool I was for thinking that it didn’t matter. Setting the goal of going to the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is so realistic. Note I said “going to the gym” literally. Just go. When I started my workout journey, I would dress in my gym shorts, walk to the gym, walk on the treadmill for 5 minutes and then leave. As puny as that may sound, I met my goal. Meeting these small goals is very good for self-confidence, and I kept going and going. Ultimately, those 5 minute walks turned into lifting weights in the main weight room and I feel good for the first time in a long time. It worked for me!


Admitting defeat is hard, counterintuitive, and scary. But, it has the ability to change things up and lead to a more satisfying life. Give it a shot!

I also am wary of articles like this in general. I trust that you, the reader, are getting a wide berth of information. This article is only my narrow experience of life. In reality, nobody can accurately tell you how to be happy because everyone is unique. We can point to probabilities and wise recommendations, but even the healthiest people have heart attacks (even if it IS much more rare).

I, however, have greatly benefitted by regularly admitting defeat and trying (generally healthy) new things in my life. As a result, I recommend that you also give it a shot if you find yourself in a situation that you don’t like, day in and day out. There’s a lot to watch out for, such as a lack of gratitude or sacrificing long-term goals for short term pleasures. But shoot, if you’re staying home all day to watch TikToks, might as well do it outdoors or take a 15 minute walk while leaving your phone at home to mix it up.

Important Note: Motivation & Drive Can Only Go So Far

Admitting defeat is great, but if nothing keeps getting better it's probably time to talk to a professional. Gaming addiction, internet addiction, nicotine addiction, pornography addiction, alcohol use disorder, opioid use disorder, the list goes on for a long time. If you find yourself somewhere in here, you are super not alone (just download I Am Sober on the App Store (iOS) to witness hundreds of thousands of people in your shoes). These medical conditions cannot always be resolved by willpower and motivation on their own. Sometimes, when trying your hardest for months (or years) at a time and not being able to change, you will ultimately best be helped by a trip to your doctor or medical professional.

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