It’s easy to think that when you fail, you’ve come to the end of a road for yourself. We equate failure with the end, mistakes with never being able to look back. We feel deep shame in failure, despite knowing that life goes on after mistakes are made.

There is no shame in failure because failure is not always a stop sign.

Sometimes failure is a detour sign. Sometimes failure is just letting you know that hey, this thing you love and are good at is great, but not for here/rightnow/thesepeople/inthisformat.

Persistence in what you love and are good at and the wherewithal to realize when failure didn’t mean the end is what gave us Johnny Carson, David Letterman, and Jon Stewart and the incredible pop culture vehicles they drive and are going down in history for.

Splitsider has an excellent piece on their early (and huge, public) failures that led them down the path they should have always been on. Check it out:

Carson, Letterman, and Stewart: Three Early Failures and the Lessons Learned From Them

“In 1995 David Letterman was the king of late night. Johnny Carson had retired three years earlier, and while Jay Leno had higher ratings, Letterman won the Emmys and the respect of critics and viewers. Wearing a blazer and holding a lit cigar, Letterman sat next to Jon Stewart on the final episode of his cancelled MTV program: The Jon Stewart Show. They discussed Letterman’s career, Stewart’s future, and cancellation. Letterman told Stewart, “Cancellation should not be confused with failure.”

In the last 50 years, three of the most popular talk show hosts have had shows that were cancelled before they hit their stride. Carson, Letterman, and Stewart were given their own shows by networks who hoped viewers would see the talent these entertainers contained. But all three of them did not realize success until their first shows were taken off the air.”

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There’s a lot of guilt and obligation floating around both online and off. And while you don’t have to believe a word that I say—trust me, I don’t always believe these myself—just for today, try.

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You don’t have to hide your quirks. They make you unique.

You don’t have to drink coffee, and if you do, it doesn’t have to be designer Arabica beans or a $6 latte from Starbucks.

You don’t have to love a certain food because everyone else seems to love it. You can if you want, but do it for you. Not for any other reasons.

You don’t have to check your phone right this minute. Remember how life was a decade ago? Whatever it is can wait.

You don’t have to be the best parent, spouse or friend, but you do have to be there when those people need you.

You don’t have to love yoga or CrossFit or running. Try to be healthy, but be healthy for you. We all need to find out what works.

You don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like you.

You don’t have to cook complicated meals with a lot of ingredients. Microwaves were made for a reason.

LOFB - AbbyYou don’t have to make Pinterest-worthy desserts. Bakeries are there for a reason, as are Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines mixes.

You don’t have to pin a damn thing.

You don’t have to hide your successes, but it’s far more impressive when others discover your charm without you having to tell them.

You don’t have to tweet a damn thing.

You don’t have to be mean to be funny. In fact, you don’t have to be mean at all.

You don’t have to love your job. You don’t have to hate your job. But you should do a good job when your name and your rep are attached.

You don’t have to tell everything you know because you have a spare minute.

You don’t have to undervalue your strengths or overvalue your mistakes.

You don’t have to hide your scars. They show that you have survived.

You don’t have to take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

You don’t have to write a book. You don’t have to read a book, but if you don’t, you’re missing out.

You do not have to complain each time you’re annoyed, but silent gratitude feels rather wasted.

You don’t have to love being a parent all the time. You don’t have to feel guilty for that.

You don’t have to complain about being a parent all the time. Nobody likes a martyr.

You don’t have to write if you really don’t want to, and when you do, write for yourself.

You don’t have to compare yourself to others. You are you. That is enough.

You don’t have to be inspirational—life isn’t unicorns and glitter—but everyone has their own junk. Try and provide some relief.

You don’t have to click on the link and read through. In fact, you can log off.

You don’t have to make the bed, fold the laundry or clean every day. A house is meant to be lived in.

You don’t have to have it all figured out. Nobody does, and you don’t have to believe them if they tell you they do.

You don’t have to take the road others have taken. Just make sure the path is your own.

And most of all, you don’t have to be the exception.

You are worthy of happiness in your life.

You are worthy of laughter, good food and good friends.

You are worthy of love and support.

You don’t have to do it alone.

LOFB - NoaI do things fast.

I want my stuff done now. I want to know everything now. I want to drive fast and be there already. I will park in any parking spot available because it’s a waste of time to drive around for 400 years. I want to be done with my book now.

I don’t like to fuck around.

I don’t like to wait.

Especially on myself.

One of the hardest parts of becoming an adult for me was the transition from school-life to real-life. I was great in school–GREAT. I memorize things lightning fast and can repeat them without practice. I have a semi-eidetic memory, which serves you well for everything in school.

It does not at all serve you well in life.

School world is memorization and regurgitation. Real world is long days, weeks, months, and years spent slogging away bit by bit until you get better and better until you’re great. I was confronted with this in a harsh way–I can memorize the steps to anything quickly, I can logically understand them, but yet for anything worth doing it takes a very very long time to repeat those steps with any proficiency and expertise.

It suuuuuuuuuuuccckkkks.

I had to learn how to be a real person. How to fail. How to make huge mistakes and recognize that they were opportunities for growth (and for memorization!) How to grunt through minute progress with the knowledge that your brain is always on and eventually you will succeed.

Still, it suuuuuuccckkkkss.

Part of growing is learning that there are a lot of roads you want to go down. Desperately. A lot of roads you want to take today right now oh my god wouldn’t that be great it’s my dream–but you aren’t yet ready. You haven’t yet learned what you need to learn, failed what you need to fail, lived what you need to live to travel down them. If you were to take them now, you might be scared off of them forever for the tremendous failures that foolhardiness brings.

Patience, I suppose. Patience with yourself. Patience with the process.

Still.

Suuuuuuuuuccckkkkks.

We talked about the virtues of why you should quit the shit in your life that you hate or that keeps you down, or that you just flat don’t want to do anymore.

But how? Quitting is never as easy as just–well, quitting. Sometimes the things you need to change are big and scary and can carry long-lasting implications but still, still you need to quit them.

Here’s someone who knows more than me, yo.

Happy quitting!

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LOFB - NoaOne of the hardest parts of life is knowing when to quit. Knowing when to give up. Knowing when to look at something and think, “well, fuck this straight in the workload.”

I’m a serial quitter. I will quit anything that is not benefitting me and will not do so in the future. I have just enough perseverance to get through hard times, but a hell of a lot of quit when I see I’m getting fucked over.

I had a great paying job with AT&T, but a few months after they cut my commission and doubled my quotes, I was outtie.

I really liked running martial arts schools, but when it started damaging my marriage (we worked together) then I was outtie.

I quit being on the leadership team of FFA because it wasn’t for me, even though I was good at it. I quit track because I hated it, though I was ok at it. I quit basketball, volleyball, kenpo, and several other varied dumb sports because holy fuck I hated them so much and I was so bad at them.

If it’s not benefitting me and I hate it, why keep slogging through forever? Surely my time can be better spent?

The problem in this is that our society sees quitting as a bad thing. Work in a terrible job forever because hey it might pay off. Stay in a marriage that everyone hates because we’ll think it’s weird you’re divorced. Stay, stay, stay and maybe when you’re dead you’ll benefit.

After all, don’t you want to life your life secure?

FUUUUUUUCK THAT.

The best part of life is that we have the choice to do the things we want to do. We have the power to look at our lives and say, “this is not a road I want to keep taking. I will try another.”

Don’t waste your time, your life on things that you hate. Don’t live with the hope that one day it may change despite great odds that it won’t. Don’t give your heart to something or someone who won’t give back.

Need some help? This Freakonomics podcast is a fantastic listen if you have a bit to discuss the mathematics behind why quitting is the best thing you could ever do for yourself.

What did you quit that benefitted you? What do you want to quit?