If not giving up was always the right answer life would be so easy. History shows us that sometimes quitters prosper and sometimes they miss out. Knowing when to quit and when to keep going is one of the most difficult questions and so we asked folks we admire to tell us how they think through this question.

Damiana Acuña | Film Director

How to know whether to keep going or to give up? This question resonates with me because I ask it to myself every single day. I ask myself if this difficult, demanding, unpredictable and wild dream of mine is worth the endless sacrifices. Some of these sacrifices are well known to our families and friends, but others, the hardest ones I believe, are kept private. Moving countries, spending money we don’t have and more time than we can count are only but the surface. Beneath lies the wondering, the weight of our decision to become artists, the fear of failure, of having spent our youth pursuing something that might not come to be, that might slip through our fingers just as we finally get close enough to reach for it. As an artist and particularly as a film director, I believe we are reaching for something ethereal, something that only ourselves can see beyond the horizon. Read more>>

Max Lehman | Artist & Webmaster

The decision to follow a career path in the arts can be a difficult one to make. There are many factors that can impact whether one has a successful career or not. I think first and foremost you must have a clear idea in your head of who you are and what are you trying to achieve. Is it fame or fortune? These as a goal are elusive and ephemeral. Success comes in many shapes and sometimes expectantly. Is it to satisfy your ego? How do you rate satisfaction? Is it in achieving the vision you set out to create or to reach a career goal? Approval or appreciation can be hard to come by and especially when you are young, you tend to be overlooked. Read more>>

Ian Pines | Painter & University Art Instructor

Most of my most successful paintings have required not giving up on them after months or years of work. When it seems completely hopeless with them, I will usually introduce some seemingly rash and large-scale application or removal of paint that will hopefully result in an unforeseen cohesion in the whole image that I can work with. I’ve only once given up on a painting; I then cut that canvas up and used sections of it on other works—so not completely giving up on it. I guess I probably haven’t learned when to give up and when not to. Read more>>

Larry Traevon | Celebrity Makeup Artist, Creative Director & Drag Queen

I love this question! Mostly because I strongly feel as though this is something MANY creatives deal with in many different facets of our community. But for me it’s simply put… if when you wake up every morning, go to bed each night and in the pattern of your days you can’t help but to think about what you love.. that’s how you know to keep going… listen to YOU tell YOU that YOU got this and whatever it is that brings you happiness let it bring you that happiness so can .. without effort… spread that joy. Faith over fear always! Read more>>

Michael Doshi | Plastic Pollution Activist

As a grassroots activist in the fight against plastic pollution, it’s hard to feel like giving up is even an option. Whatever my daily interaction is with plastic, I am reminded of the harmful effects this human made material has on people and the planet. I’m in a movement for justice, and justice will not be achieved unless our movement grows and keeps going! A mentor of mine once told me that there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, there are rather nuggets of gold to pick up along the way, and once you reach the end of a rainbow another one begins. When I feel like I’m spinning my wheels with my work, I remember that there is always a lesson to be learned, or nugget of gold to pick up, that will make my work stronger. Read more>>

Maria Menshikova | Art Director & Illustrator

Understanding your limits is an acquired skill. Whereas it’s important for you to keep in mind your abilities and limitations, I think the main question to ask yourself is why? Motivation is the key. Motivation isn’t some ethereal concept, if you can’t motivate yourself to keep going, it’s not laziness or procrastination, it’s rather the lack of real need. When it comes to the surviving aspect and paying your bills, we’re able to push ourselves even further, because we all need to pay our bills. Your brain gets creative when you’re solving a difficult problem. Do you really need this? We’re stuck because our activity no longer sparks joy or curiosity. It’s either you have to assess whether you still like it, or step up the game: do work for other people. Read more>>

Jayson Crothers | Director of Photography

When I was just starting out in undergrad, I remember a teacher telling me that the film industry is incredibly hard and if I could see myself doing ANYTHING else in life and being happy doing it, I should go pursue that other thing. That’s been a barometer for me my whole career – when things get really hard, I check in with myself to see if there’s anything else that I think would make me as happy as this work does. Ultimately the answer is always no, so it becomes a easy decision to keep moving forward. I’ve also learned over time that this industry and our careers in it are very fluid – we have periods where we work a lot and do great work, then we’ll have periods with little or no work, or work we’re not thrilled with. It comes and goes in waves and part of the job is learning to roll with that. Read more>>

Tammi Leader Fuller | Founder

We created Campowerment in 2013 as a transformational playground to help women learn, connect and grow, in the spirit of the childhood summer camp experience. Powered by joy and playtime, through the lens of community and game-changing Expert-led programming, in dozens of fields, By empowering thousands of women to become better humans, partners, leaders, parents, volunteers, employees, managers, and all around contributors to help make not only their own lives, but the world in which we live, a better place, With a 50 plus percent return rate, our people have taken quantum leaps forward, on purpose. In November 2016, as we were setting up our homebased at Camp Hilltop in Malibu, awaiting the arrival of 160 “campers”, the Woolsey Fire was ranging 40 miles east of us. Read more>>

Jeff Noller | Sound Designer & Musician

Giving up has gotten a bad rap. Failure isn’t a bad thing. Who really has things work out just as they planned? Dreams are great, but you can wear yourself down to a nubbin scratching at the same, unchanging, dream for decades. I have changed my career focus at least three times in my adult life, and I suspect there’s a few more to come. Give something 2 or 3 years, and if you haven’t seen a progression, not success mind you, but a progression towards a goal, pivot to something else. Keep on quitting and pivoting until you find the point where what you enjoy meets what you’re good at. Sometimes tossing in your cards is the only way to get the winning hand you’ve been waiting on. Read more>>

Rafael Capiro | Fitness Coach & Studio Owner

Having a business, in some ways, is like being in a committed relationship. When you are emotionally invested, it can be hard to know exactly when the right time to walk away is. If the business is part of the dreams and passions that you have, that can push you to a high level of achievement, or it can blind you and lead you to financial ruin. I don’t like walking away, unless I’m leaving as a winner, but there have been a few times in my life where I have been totally overextended in unsustainable circumstances. I’m referring to a time in my life when I was running two separate businesses. I felt strongly about the mission of the business, but the non stop staff, customer and landlord issues, combined with the small profit margin we achieved in the first three years, made it pretty obvious that going back to running one business would immediately improve my quality of life. Read more>>

Emily Moore | Musician & Educator

Sometimes the decision to keep going or to give up is crystal clear. Other times, not so much. How do you know the difference? Something will always shifts: you get a call for a great gig, you have a rewarding connection in a rehearsal, your student masters a hard-earned new skill. Or perhaps you can’t stop watching the clock on that gig and you feel relieved when that one student canceled again. In my experience, giving up is usually just recalibrating your career so it more closely matches the one you want. The beauty of freelance and of being an artist is that I always have a choice. Read more>>