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Sometimes there is power in quitting

In a piece published on January 19, I discussed the concept of やり抜く力 (yarinuku chikara), which is the power of perseverance. However, it is equally important to use 諦める力 (akirameru chikara), which is the power of giving up.

Consider the verb 諦める (Akiramerugiving up) and it can conjure up negative images, such as quitting a job before it’s finished, giving up on a challenge, or letting go of your dreams. In Japanese, numerous words can express this idea, such as the verb やめる (Yamerustop), or compound verbs such as 放り出す (horidasuthrow away/abandon), 投げ出す (nagedasuthrow away), 見捨てる(misuteruspecify) and 捨て去る (sutesaruthrow away).

Advanced level expressions (I’m looking at you, N1 test takers) include 挫折する (zasetsu surube frustrated), 棄権する (kiken suruforfeit), 中断する (chūdan suruinterrupt/suspend), 断念する (dannen suru, renounce) and 観念する (kan suruto report).

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