1. Not being honest
I’ve misrepresented the truth to everyone.
My best friends.
Even my parents.
Most of the time, it’s out of shame, especially if I’ve done something wrong.
Other times, I just don’t have the temerity to tell people what they don’t want to hear. I reluctantly cower in the face of scrutiny, figuring that if I absorb the heartache instead of someone else, then I’m doing that person a favor.
But that strategy rarely works.
Tell people the truth, and if they hate you for it, keep your head up and walk away knowing you gave that individual your best shot.
2. Toxic social media
Creatives in the 1960s would have been smitten with the opportunities social media provides.
Today, everyone has a platform and can use it to elevate their brand to whichever heights they’re willing to strive for.
That being said, aimlessly scrolling through social media is terrible for the psyche.
Not only is it a reminder of what I don’t have, but I’m constantly competing for validation I don’t necessarily want.
I’m so warped by social media, I can’t go on vacation without wanting to post a photo on Instagram.
To be fair, social media is a great marketing tool that has allowed me to experience the small amounts of success that have come my way, but when misused, these apps can wreak havoc on my vulnerable emotions.
To counteract that, I’ve unfollowed dozens of politically-motivated people and haven’t downloaded the Facebook app in years. All of these actions are strategies to incentivize me to go online less, and then when I do, it’s less likely I’ll be inundated with perpetual negativity.
3. Chasing Women
Women are great.
I love and can’t get enough of them.
But when I think of all the time and energy I poured into chasing the opposite sex, it’s pitiful.
Scrolling through Tinder, Bumble, or letting my eyes distract me from a night out with friends are all actions that looking back make me despise the state of mind I used to occupy.
Yet, sometimes it takes colossal failure to learn a lesson, and while I don’t advise young men not to pursue women, it is important to recognize that wanting to do so has an expiration date, and emotionally investing in that type of external validation will never pay off in the long-term.
4. Grey Goose
If you read The Long Road North, then you know how much I liked to imbibe in the sweet nectar of Grey Goose vodka.
But man, that was a waste of money.
Not only did my bank account suffer, but so too did my creative spirit and overall health.
As I get older, even one Grey Goose Red Bull combination will put my head in a fog the next morning, and then it takes me an entire day for my brain to reset before that cloudiness vanishes.
Again, much like with women, I don’t advise people not to drink.
Alcohol certainly has its place in this world, as does Tinder, but it should never supersede the long-term goals that people have put in place for themselves.
5. Failing to Launch
Too much of my teenage years were spent looking for reasons not to do something.
Whether it was something as simple as getting my driver’s license, or generating the confidence to ask out the pretty girl a few desks over, rarely did I take initiative in order to further push me toward my aspirations.
As I’ve gotten older, I still struggle with being assertive.
Back in 2016, it took me months to start a blog.
A year later, I could barely sleep thinking of the way people would judge me if I published a book.
Living in China?
Further unsolicited commentaries.
The list goes on, but the reality is good things don’t just happen; they need to be seized, with little regard for the potential repercussions of pursuing joy and fulfillment.
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