89 - Never too late to give up … or start again.

Hello and welcome to the 89th episode of The Spark & The Art creativity podcast. Thank you for subscribing to our weekly podcast, where we alternate between interviews with creative folks from all different career levels and insight and inspiration episodes. All with the intention you’ll get the inspiration you need to get your creative projects started and, more importantly, finished.

I’m your host Tucker and this week is insight and inspiration and we’re going to talk about giving up.

I recently purchased the latest album by Seth Timbs. You’ll be forgiven for not knowing the name he’s not really a well known musician. I’ve been following Seth since about 1999 when his band The Fluid Ounces put out their album In The New Old Fashioned Way. It’s still one of my favourite albums. Since his first album with The Fluid Ounces in 1997 he has put out either with the band or as a solo act 12 albums. That’s about 19 years of making music and selling albums.

I’m telling you about Seth because of the first song on this new album. First the album is called New Personal Record. Which I’m going to assume means the album is fairly personal. Okay so now the lyrics for the first song it’s called Give up on your dreams

Oh it’s never never ever too late.
To give up on your dreams.
Pack ‘em up and get a new set
Of far fetched schemes.

The song is a somewhat melancholy meditation on working towards a dream and having it not quite work out the way you imagined. It has some really nice insight to it so I’d recommend listening to the whole song at SethTimbs.bandcamp.com it actually reminds me of the book Oh The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss. 

Dreams are hard. Work is hard. Finding a path is hard. But what I love about these first lines of the song are that just because you ‘give up’ (I just did air quotes) doesn’t mean you stop. Maybe it just changes a little. Maybe you just pack’em up and get a new set. 

In the Startup world they call this change in direction ‘pivoting’. Change in business direction and product creation happen so often that they gave it a name. For as many apps and businesses out there you’ll find at least that many stories of a pivot of some kind. The one that sticks out for me is a 2010 app called Burbn it was an app that had a newsfeed like twitter or Facebook and location checkins like foursquare and some photo sharing tools. The team of developers and designers spent a year on the app and got funding from some high profile venture capital firms. The problem was they didn’t really like wha they had built. They found it, to use their words, 'cluttered and overrun with features’. So they made a decision to restart the entire project. They dropped all the features from Burbn expect for the photo sharing commenting and liking features and eight weeks later they released their new app Instagram. 

In the long run one year doesn’t seem like all that much considering Instagram has been around for 6 years now. But at the time it was a full year of development, design and getting funding. It couldn’t have been an easy decision. 

My dad started singing in university and did a couple performances but music didn’t really become a priority in his life. My mom, myself and my brother all had music in our lives in one way or another. Me and mom played guitar as singer songwriters and my brother went to university to study music and can play multiple instruments and went on tour with a band called Barrage for many years. One day, in his fifties my dad decided it was time to join in somehow. So he took guitar lessons. The guitar didn’t quite fit with him. So he took drum lessons. Drums lasted much longer than guitar but still didn’t feel right. So he took up the bass guitar. Now almost 20 years later he supports my mom on stage and they play as a duo called Harley and Harley. 

So, whatever you are doing right now doesn’t have to be what you do forever. Because it’s never to late to start and of course it’s never too late give up. But giving up doesn’t mean stopping. It means taking everything you learned and packing them along into a new adventure. You can pivot your dreams just like a business can pivot their business model. 

This reminds me also of Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture: Achieving your childhood dreams where he talks about knowing what your dreams actually are. Randy tells how he always wanted to become an astronaut. But in evaluating why he wanted to become an astronaut he realized it was to experience weightlessness. He didn’t really want to become a space pilot or scientist and doing all that just to perhaps one day get to go to space and float around didn’t seem like a good trade. So he found a way to get a ride on the Vomit Comet that’s the nickname for an airplane especially designed to create weightlessness he got to experience his childhood dream and still pursue other interests. (Like working for Disney in the Imagineering department for example)

So remember it’s never too late to start something. And, it’s never never ever too late to give up on your dreams to pack ‘em up and get a new set of far fetched schemes. 

Here’s where you get to do some thinking

  • What have you been putting off and not starting?
  • Have you been dragging something out simply because you’ve put so much work into it already?
  • What are you putting off now because other unfinished projects are looming? 
  • What can you just finish as is and get done? 
  • Is there the possibility a project just needs to be wrapped up in a bow and put on a shelf?


Did today’s episode make you think of someone you know? It would be great if you could share it with them. The best way is to send the short url TheSparkAndTheArt.com/89 also at that page are links to Seth Timbs page on Bandcamp, an article on Instagram’s pivot and Randy Pausch’s last lecture. 

As always you can find me on twitter @sparkartpodcast or leave me a voicemail message on my toll-free number 1-877-966-4886. 

Thanks for listening and remember: you won’t get the art without the work and you won’t do the work without the spark.