Want to be a master?
Want to be the best in your field, your city, your planet?
Want to do something great?
Like Hunter S. Thompson typing out The Great Gatsby, so he knew what great writing “felt like,” find some heroes and do what they do.
Paint someone else’s painting.
Be an apprentice.
Buck the trend of entitlement and be led.
Set up an easel, like these people did in a museum I visited, and learn how to paint someone else’s masterpiece before you paint your own.
There is no guarantee my next book will sell well.
There is no guarantee you will finish your dream project this year.
There is no guarantee the business deal you’re working on will work out.
Or that guy will finally call you.
Or a million other things that maybe you’ve been waiting for.
But there is always possibility.
And this year, that is enough to keep going.
(Today’s guest post is written by Trey Brackman)
My Quitter story actually begins five years ago when my wife and I moved back to Nashville after many years of living in New Mexico and Wisconsin. We arrived with loads of debt, two small children, and a big loss on the sale of our house in Milwaukee that we had only bought 18 months prior to moving. We spent our first nine months in Nashville living with my father, stepmother and three half-sisters. Yes, nine of us in a 2,500 square foot house with my wife working full time, our two sons in daycare, and me without a job.
Recently, a young girl reminded me of the kind of dream that will always fail.
I was at a college speaking. It was my second time there. After I was finished, she came up to me and told me something.
She said, “After I read your book Quitter, I changed my major. My parents always told me I had to be one way, and so I thought that was true. So I started chasing their dream instead of mine. I was miserable. I spent the last year in my new major. I’m happy now. Tell everyone not to chase someone else’s dream.”
So today I am.
That’s the one kind of dream that will always fail. You can’t spend your life chasing your mom’s dream. Or your dad’s dream, or a professor’s dream.
You were designed with something unique to you.
And in thinking about that challenge, I ran into a song that seemed to provide a soundtrack to this moment.
The next time you’re tempted to live up to someone else’s expectation of how you should be, I hope you’ll remember to fight.
The worst place to write a book in Franklin, Tennessee is Starbucks. There are approximately 14 people who live in this town, and we all know each other. So if you want to make sure someone will distract you from doing something you’re afraid of doing, like writing a book, then write your book in Starbucks. Plus, you’ll get to look all writery with your Mac and your moleskine notebook, the Mac of all notebooks.
The second worse place to write a book is the public library. For one thing, the weekday crowd at a library is a little squirrely. You are instantly overwhelmed with the thought, “What are all these people doing at the library at 10 AM on a Tuesday?” Once you work through this thought (they’re old, unemployed, weird or a potpourri of all three), you’ll be hit with a second wave of thought, and this one stings a little.
“Does the world really need another book?”
This is the soundtrack we created for the last Quitter Conference.
It was awesome and befitting a new year and a new dream and a new day.
What song gets you fired up?
- Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition
- Snow Patrol – Just Say Yes
- Mike Doughty – 27 Jennifers
- The Cure – Friday I’m in Love
- Gavin Degraw – I Don’t Want To Be
- NeedtoBreathe – Shine On
- Death Cab for Cutie – You Are a Tourist
- Brett Dennen – Sydney (I’ll Come Running)
- Gomez – See the World
- Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
- Imagine Dragons – It’s Time
- Aqualung – Something to Believe In
- Dexter Freebish – Leaving Town
- Young the Giant – My Body
- The Dunwells – I Could Be a King
- The Apache Relay – American Nomad
- Toad the Wet Sprocket – Walk on the Ocean
- Jesus Jones – Right Here Right Now
- The Lumineers – Ho Hey
- NeedtoBreathe – Something Beautiful
- INXS – New Sensation
- Phoenix – 1901
- The Pushstars – Everything Shines
- David Gray – First Chance
- Train – Drops of Jupiter
- David Gray – Babylon
- Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way
- The Gabe Dixon Band – All Will Be Well (Live at World Café)
- One Republic – Secrets
- Bob Schneider – 40 Dogs (Romeo and Juliet)
- Muse – Uprising
- One Eskimo – Amazing
- Taylor Swift – Mean
- Mute Math – Typical
- Mumford & Sons – Roll Away Your Stone
- NeedtoBreathe – Lay em’ Down
- Oasis – Wonderwall
- RUN DMC – My Adidas
- Zero 7 – In the Waiting Line
- Rob Dougan – Clubbed to Death Kurayamino
- Fatboy Slim – Praise You
- Chemical Brothers – Block Rocking Beats
- Moby – Honey
- Peter Bjorn and John – Young Folks
Thus begins my favorite review ever written of my book Quitter.
Why did the girl who wrote the review feel that way? You can read the full review here, but the short answer is that Quitter doesn’t tell you to quit your job right this second.
Though quitting your job is the new American dream, and we’ve culturally romanticized quitting impulsively, quitting the wrong way usually increases your pain and heartache instead of reducing it.
I did that for 10 years, and it was miserable. Most of us quit our jobs without looking where we’re going to land. We’re so focused on escaping that we don’t take the time to see where we’re going to end up. And consequently, we tend to end up somewhere even worse.
Do I want you to quit your job? Sure, if that’s the wisest path for your dream.
Do I want you to stay at your job? Sure, if that’s the wisest path for your dream.
Quitter is about quitting, but if you read the first chapter (which is free online), you might be surprised about what I’ll encourage you to quit.
Quitter is about quitting average.
Should you buy the book? I think so, but then I’m biased. Ask Sara Lamb Sutter. She wrote that review and gave it to her boyfriend with a breakup note that gently implied “the relationship is doomed because he won’t put away the Xbox and become a grownup.”
Just know this: If you do quit the wrong way, you might lose two toes in the rainforest like the guy in the video below: