Quitting to Succeed

Time and time again we’ve heard people say “never quit” or “never give up”, but the reality is that sometimes the best way of propelling yourself forward is to know exactly when to quit and what to quit. One of the biggest issues in my career, and my life in general, has been that I tend to spread myself too thin. Even now, as I look at my iCal with all the things I need to do back-to-back for the next week, somehow my priority has ended up way at the end, shoved into a corner. The fact is that many of us have to spend our time doing things we don’t want to do but have to do, like a day job, and sometimes it becomes really difficult to keep your priority at the forefront. But this post is about those things we don’t necessarily have to do but maybe feel obliged to do or maybe do out of habit. Knowing how to “clean up” your life and use your time efficiently is exactly what could turn your situation around.

It’s been taking me a bit longer than usual to write this post - I keep stopping and stalling and overthinking. It’s because I don’t want to sound like the villain. I honestly do value helping others and contributing to society in a way that doesn’t only benefit oneself, but there’s a time and place for that. It’s also really hard to help others unless you’re cool with yourself. As I get older and I make new friends, have new jobs, and face lots of difficult decisions, I’ve learned that I really do know what’s best for me, not someone else. I’ve written about this before, about trusting your instincts - always learn from others, but trust your instincts. I have quit a lot of things. I’ve quite bands, I’ve quit classes, I’ve quit smoking, I’ve quit drinking (for a period of time), and I’ve quit relationships. This is the ugly truth people usually feel uncomfortable with - if you spend your life doing the things you feel obliged to do, committing to things you are uncertain about, and constantly lending out your talents to others instead of honing them in your own way, then you may miss your stop on this journey of life, so to speak. There’s something extremely rewarding about helping others, I’ll admit. Every time someone asks me if I want to play a show or sing on a song or mix their track, I almost always say yes, because I’m just literally excited for them and I want to be a part of the process. It took me a couple years to understand - after failing to do my part on these projects - that I just couldn’t be in two places at once. The place where I so badly wanted to be was alone in my room, writing my songs. I would feel more badly about this sentiment, except that anyone who knows me even a little, knows that I’ve dedicated a ton of my time to other peoples’ music. I love doing it. But sometimes it’s not always what’s right for me.

In 2014 I quit every band that I was in. I had some sort of melt down in which I realized that I wanted to work on myself as a film composer and artist. I’d had the resolve for many years, but could never make time for it. Because I didn’t know how to balance things, I bailed on everything so hard, and I don’t recommend this. Though it was one of the best things I ever did for myself in the long run, it was also one of the most hurtful things I’ve ever done. It ruined friendships (for a while) and I got a lot of unkind words thrown my way, but I understand why. Going from 100 to zero, so to speak, was an extreme change but I didn't know how else to navigate what I wanted. Now as time goes on, I’m starting to get better at it. But I still feel bad for every project I committed to and then inevitably bailed on when I became overwhelmed by not being able to focus on my priority. It always comes back to knowing what your priority is and managing your time realistically.

Quitting things doesn’t just include things in your career. It also includes bad habits, such as excessive drinking, or smoking, or being late, or trash-talking. Quitting also includes people. You can hate me for saying this, but there is such a thing as a toxic relationship. And while I’ve never intended to bail on someone forever, I have definitely let them know that I needed to step back temporarily and protect my heart. Don’t be afraid to tell someone when they’re starting to fuck with you. After all, the only way they can fuck you up is if you let them. So don’t let them. I’m always working towards maintaining healthy relationships with supportive friends around me. Many of us have conflict already existing in our lives - from bosses or family or others we are obliged to have relations with. Don’t add to the stress by letting a hurtful person continue to kill your vibe. You elected yourself to be with them, so make sure it’s healthy and fun. The best way I’ve described this is that I don’t want to “weave an intricate web of my life”. Confrontation is hard, and I am the fucking worst at it, but don’t be afraid to say what you need or when you need something to stop. Be strong enough to work through something, but also know what your threshold is.

Sometimes things just aren’t good enough, and that can be a sad reality. Our natural inclination is usually to try and salvage something. We’ve all tried to salvage the already broken relationship, believing the other person will see they’re hurting us and will somehow just chose to change of us. But maybe that relationship has served it’s purpose in our lives and it’s best to move on. It’s hard to quit things, even when they’re so blatantly painful. Remember to trust yourself and most importantly, to be brave. Because it takes a shit-ton of bravery to navigate through all the bullshit in our lives and still come out strong. Trust your instincts, know your priorities, and always act through love. Even when you’re quitting.

Wishing you the best,

Sulene