It's not super complicated to understand. You will tell yourself otherwise because it's easier to ignore the truth. Your whole life you've started and stopped, created and paused, put your toes on the edge but never jumped. Your friends have gotten a little less excited every time you talk about your dream because they've learned better than to put hope into your dream coming to fruition.
Did that feel kind of harsh? It's okay if it does because it will probably sink in a little more that way.
There's a great list here of why you keep quitting on your dream:
1. Wounds are only healed by applause - You can feed us all the bull you want about how much you find joy in the process of creating art. But if not enough people like what you make than you won't put it somewhere for others to see. Or you'll question the quality of what you've done, "This is bad art because not enough people like it." Art is not a process for you, it's a band-aid for the places you've been hurt. Applause is the ultimate healer. And where there is applause you'll focus all your time creating similar art. Of course that's really not art anymore, it's merely a product that makes you feel better in the mean time.
2. We quit following you by following your lead - You gave up on yourself long before we gave up on you. But that sure makes it easy to follow your lead. Of course it's so much safer for you to be the first one to give up on yourself, it's a great way to protect yourself from someone else's critique. Plus, this is why some of your close friends really value you; they can always feel a little bit better about themselves watching you quit on yourself as frequently as you do.
3. Compared to them you suck - That other person is so much better than you at creating similar art. I mean, who wouldn't rather buy a ticket to watch professionals than actually try to be a professional? Sure, it's always more expensive for the person in the stands watching than the person competing on the field but that's what you work so hard every day for: the right to sit and watch without being judged. Better to lose money and be the one critiquing than the one creating and getting critiqued.
4. Your happiness is now - Now. It's your favorite word. Everything should happen for you now. Your blog didn't get the views you wanted right now? Quit. Open a online store and sell only a couple of items. Quit. Share an idea but no one loves it right away. Quit. Is that relationship not making you very happy right now? Quit. Is it uncomfortable being in that place? Quit. It's really hard saving money. Quit. You get the point. If it's not now, why do it?
5. Shortcuts make the most sense - Honestly, who wants to do the work over a long period of time. The long tail principle doesn't apply to people with real success. It feels great when you launch something, all your friends check it out and there's an immediate reward. But what about the next week? What about the next month? What about the next year? Everything you create should be an up curve right? Cover your ears when you hear about someone grinding for years before they were discovered. Make sure to compare your success to those who are well known so it gives you a reason to quit. Too much work over too much time.
Thank goodness you have this list to lean on. Can you imagine taking a risk, putting yourself in a vulnerable place, setting goals, adjusting to obstacles, and carrying through on your dreams?
(Author's note: These are things I tell myself. They sound far more ridiculous when I write them down than they sound in my head.)