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Don’t Quit – Poem

Whether you are low income and going through a financial hardship, facing a personal challenge or just need a boost for any other reason, the Don’t Quit poem may be just what is called for. My brother told me about it way back when I was a kid (thanks Pat). He probably forgot he even told me about this poem back then as it was more of an offhand comment on his part. But after he mentioned it, I read it and the poem moved me and gave me strength. I memorized this poem by heart when I was a teenager, and even today I still can (and do) recite it by memory when the time calls for…like tonight or other recent nights when I struggle to sleep.

I think that the message from the Don’t Quit poem can benefit a low income family living paycheck to paycheck and that is struggling to pay their rent or utility bill. It may give some hope to someone with a health scare or that is drowning in credit card or medical debt. Or for those 40 million + people who are “food insecure” per the USDA and who are not always certain where their next meal may come from, the poem can help them keep their head high and help them stay strong. Or it can help people who face a personal issue in their life, family fall out, who had a death of a loved one, or some other challenge.

In other words, this poem may help anyone in their time of need. I really do think Don’t Quit can assist any person who is going through a difficult time, whether personal, financial, emotional, business related, or really anything. It may provide them a little strength and hope.

Among other things, it helped me while growing up. When my mom was struggling to pay the bills or when my mom and dad were fighting (before he left) Don’t Quit helped me make it through a terrible day. My family moved a few times when I was as a kid to a home we could afford (or “mostly” afford). Since we moved a few times I was the “new kid” in a couple different schools; which is often hard. Like some kids, especially when new to a school, I was sometimes teased (or would maybe considered to be “bullied” in today’s language) for my weight/appearance/awkwardness. I recited the Poem back then, and it brought me peace and strength. It motivated me to keep fighting and to be strong.

As a kid growing up and even throughout adulthood, I have been teased for my appearance, made fun of due to awkwardness/my sometimes social anxiety/or introversion. While growing up as a kid and even today as an adult, I have fought over people commenting on my looks, I have had horrible arguments with family or loved ones and lost or been disconnected from family or loved ones, I have been threatened and had my family threatened, and I have been sick and had anxiety attacks. I have also been mocked, my “best friend” Maxie has been on death’s doorstep, I have made mistakes, and, like many people, I have faced multiple challenges. I am not special as many other people face similar life challenges or their own hardships. But this poem helped me when things got really bad, and just maybe it can be a resource for you.

Don’t Quit helped me during financial challenges too. When I lost a lot of money in the stock market, primarily in the 2000-2001 dot com bubble and in the 2008-2009 financial crisis, Don’t Quit helped give me strength, motivation to keep fighting and gave me perspective. When I missed a promotion at work, I walked away from that news hurt but with a fire in my belly. I told myself at least I tried and that I did not “fear failure”, unlike many others. But the poem Don’t Quit helped me then too. And I never missed a promotion/career opportunity again, as I learned a lot from that failure.

It is funny. I don’t like attention on me, public speaking, etc. I would rather listen then speak, be generous, and place my energy and attention on others. To help show how much I respected/appreciated this poem, back in high school English we had to recite a poem in front of the class….I dreaded it due to my dislike of attention on me. But I could not get around the requirement, so I choose Don’t Quit, and recited it from memory in front of the class.

My classmates actually stood and clapped when I was done, and congratulated me after words. It was the only poem that had that reaction, and arguably the most successful public speaking presentation in my lifetime. Believe me, it was not my presentation that elicited that response, but rather the message and my belief in that message that drew that response.

I rarely share the poem or story. But here is the poem Don’t Quit for anyone facing a difficult period. Whether you are sick, in debt, having personal or family issues, you are a struggling family living in poverty, or need financial assistance for paying your bills, this poem may provide you a little motivation or inspiration to make it through a challenging period.

We think a key message is that in order to succeed at anything (or in life), you will always need to pick yourself up and try, try again. I hope it helps…and if the poem does not give you a little motivation, inspiration or strength, at least I hope it can be interesting to read.

Don’t Quit – seems to be some question over who wrote it…maybe John Greenleaf Whittier? But not sure.

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.


Jon McNamara is the CEO of needhelppayingbills.com, a company that he started in 2008 and that specializes in helping low income families as well as those who are in a financial hardship. He also found NHPB LLC, a company committed to helping the less fortunate and is the Vice President of Billhelp.uk. Jon and his team also provide free financial advice to help people learn about as well as manage their money, and you too can fine help improving financial literacy skills. Every piece of content on this website has been reviewed by him before publishing and many of the articles he has personally written. Jon is the leading author for needhelppayingbils.

One thought on “Don’t Quit – Poem

  • January 19, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Thanks for the poem. I’m am a single mom trying to find a program that can help me keep my lights on. I have twin boys that are graduating high school and my little 7 year old. Sometimes I feel like quitting but I keep trying. I will share the poem.


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