Knowing when to Quit

Posted: January 23, 2011 in Call to action, Creative Inspiration
Tags: , , , , , ,
In the business of creation, when’s a good time to quit?

I get it. You’ve had enough…

Enough of the rejection, enough of the unrelenting and tiresome focus, enough of the continuous and persistent  judgment, and plenty of pouring your heart onto the open page, canvas, stage, boardroom, classroom – or anywhere you create – only to be met with failure time and time again: you’ve simply had enough!

You love to create, you say it all the time, but your enemies are so clearly stacked against you – and in such greater numbers – how could you be expected to go on? You couldn’t! Surely no reasonable person would expect you to!

Wouldn’t it just be so much simpler to change professions? You could learn the stock market, or the housing market, or the exchanges, hell you could even land a part-time gig at McDonalds; anything to bring in a quick buck aside from your “passion”. You’ve thought about it long and hard, you’ve been considering it for a good while, and now you’re certain that it’s high time to throw in the towel. So now it’s time to quit right?

Right

In a situation such as this: Yes, Quit! I got you there, didn’t I? I know what you were thinking; you thought (probably because this blog is so often positive and uplifting), that i was going to tell you all, “No, don’t quit. It’s bad for your soul, it’ll ruin your life, and you’ll be infected with brain eating mites!”, aside from the fact that you will be infected with brain eating mites (Scouts honor… Don’t bother looking it up), if these are the thoughts that rule your mind on a daily basis, and they’ve been torturing you like this for a while, than why bother? I say Quit!

Do it sissy! What are you waiting for? Do it now! Why are you still reading this? Go look for work elsewhere. I’ll wait.

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Well what the hell man? I thought it was all over for you. What are you still doing here? What? What’s that you say? You’re not sure…

Well that changes everything!

Holy tartanium Batman... That's a lot of tongue

Good creative people, doubt is an essential tool of the mind. Don’t ever ignore it.

Doubt is crude form of communication between you and your brain – picture it like two cups and a string – and it gives the wrinkled organ a voice and air so that it might ask you, “Are we taking the best possible course of action here?”

If you’re developing something, anything, whether it’s a relationship (tell him already Batman), a business, a project, an idea, or heck – even a case against a certain electronics Co. for a full refund rather than a partial one (for those of you who care, the inverter I purchased to fix my computer arrived late and wrong, so I’m still working within an inch of my television monitor, and I’m not sure that my poor eyes can take much more) – so long as you’ve conducted yourself and your business in an upstanding, honorable, and truthful manner – don’t just give up and quit – REEVALUATE!

Perchance you’ve heard this saying before:

No not this one, the one below it

In any given situation there are three actions that a person can take, and if those actions were to be listed in their order of value to all parties involved, they would be; the right thing, the wrong thing, and then nothing

Notice that doing the wrong thing is listed before nothing. I would completely understand it if some of you found that to be odd, but trust me (and the quote, the quote knows all), action of any sort is far preferable to non-action. Don’t believe me? Well then let’s put this euphemism into a real life scenario for a test.

Let’s say it’s the 13th of July, and you and your best bud Bobby make plans for the 18th to go to a disco (yes it’s a 60’s example, get over it!). Bobby agrees to drive (what a sport), because you lost your license in that tragic hot air balloon incident – don’t ask. On the 16th you call Bobby to tell him that there’s a dress code, and he doesn’t answer his phone. But no biggie right? He’s probably just busy – Bobby’s a very busy guy. By the 17th however, you can’t help it but to start fretting; Bobby still hasn’t phoned you back – but he’s a good friend, and it’s likely that he’s preoccupied, so you dismiss this as too anecdotal. Now the night of the 18th rolls around, and guess what? Still no Bob-oh…

On the fateful day you’re left standing in your living room with your groovy platform shoes, your extra-wide parachute pants, your deep-deep-V (I’m talkin’ to the floor), and your groovy “Peace” emblem that dangles around your thick tuft of manly chest hair. You might look stunning – but you have no way to get to the club.

Thanks Bob

So now you tell me, which two of the three following actions would you have preferred Bob to have taken?

1- Right– He stay’s true to his word, and shows up right on time (wearing his Travolta best). He apologizes profusely for not returning your call, as his smart-phone had some crazy virus which made him phone-less while it was in for repairs. Now that he’s arrived he’s completely prepared to get his funky on.

2- Wrong– He calls you back on the 16th to tell you that he’d been mugged by a troupe of thugs dressed up like the cast of Austin Powers, and because of this he unfortunately wont be able to make it to the club for fears that he might totally freak out man.

3- Nothing– Exactly what he did: he never returned your call (even a text would have been fine Bobby, come-on!); he completely destroyed your well laid plans, and gave you no chance to make others; he in essence did nothing – well he did find a really creative way to show you that he couldn’t give two Lamb-kebab’s about you – but other than the one measly brownie point that he get’s for this (hey creativity’s creativity), he’s a complete jerk, and I personally would never call him again.

Now if you’re anything like me, or the rest of the world for that matter, you will most certainly not have chosen #3. because;

Even when we do NOTHING it’s still SOMETHING!


Think about it. When Bob choose not to phone you back he made a decision, just like when you choose to ignore that pestering prodding arthritic finger of doubt that incessantly jammed it’s spiked tip into your shoulder over-and-over across the years, you made a decision.

Reevaluation of the self is – without a doubt – one of the hardest things that can be done as a creative individual, but if you want to be creative (and the least bit successful), than you absolutely must, not only learn to deal with evaluation and critique, but to love it!

It’s how we hold a mirror to our actions and judge whether we like what we see of not. It’s the only chance that we get to change. It’s the great white hope. It’s slapping five on the black hand side. It’s cornbread, biscuits, and gravy on a Sunday morning. Seriously now, it’s our life blood, and without it, you should just quit.

That is if you actually enjoy what you do. This is what the reevaluation is all about. If you don’t like what you find when you take an honest peek inside Pandora box, then you have to either change it, or Quit. It’s as simple as that. But, if you want to claim insanity (or creativity, either way, they’re pretty much the same thing), as your state of mind, than you need to really, really…really like what it is that you do.

Even if your craft does have to take the backseat to things like a day-job, or family, or responsibility of any sort, you MUST still find the time to do what you love. It will make you a more robust person, and just plain more likable to others, if you have a rich internal life and you’ve mastered the balance of the essentials of being.

So in closing, knowing when to quit in life is vastly important. Never. You should never quit doing something that you love. The only way that it can even be put on the table in the first place is if your worried that you took up the task on dishonest grounds. And if that’s so; if you’re feeling lost and disconnected from what brought you here in the first place, don’t just quit, reevaluate. You might be surprised at what you discover. It just might be the real you.

I feel like I should say Namaste here today, but instead I’ll just close as I always do:

Good creative people – be observant, never judgemental, and as always stay creative.

~J

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Comments
  1. bethanage says:

    Great post! I like the message you’re giving!

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