We had the good fortune of connecting with Ruby Gao and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ruby, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I believe a way to measure if something is worth pursuing is whether doing so makes “getting closer to the ideal self.” the process is meaningful to you, or it is hard for you but has a meaningful purpose for you. The original intention of persistence should not be becoming better than others, but to be better than our previous self, to grow as an individual, and improve one’s craft day by day. The subject is asked when to keep going or when to give up. I believe there is no answer because sometimes persistence does not have a reasonable reward, but it doesn’t mean you are not growing and improving.
What’s more, sticking to it often doesn’t work at first- like my first five years of learning piano. I always hated it during this learning period. Honestly, I did not have the slightest love for playing the piano. I participated in many competitions and did not win any outstanding awards. In these five years, there was so much pain and suffering, especially when I couldn’t play the piano with my fingers. This made me feel furious, wanting to give up. However, every time my mother saw me improve on my skills, she would say to me: “This time is better than the last time. If you persist, you will have completed the top amateur level and given yourself an explanation for learning the piano.”
My turning point came when I was 14 years old. My mother bought several piano scores based on Joe Hisaishi songs for me to play. I found that even without rehearsing, my ability to read music was so fast that I could shoot out the whole score in an afternoon. At that moment, I felt as if the learning experience finally reached a pivotal moment in my life. I went from really hating the piano to gradually enjoying it, to the point where I could “play a few songs” when I needed to. Eventually playing the piano has become an indispensable regulator in my life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As an Asian expat here in Hollywood, it is hard for us to go and make our way out quickly like other citizens here, especially in the current political environment. It’s exceptionally challenging. It’s been a crazy time for many other Asian people and myself, not only career-wise but also in our everyday life.
Furthermore, sometimes we might face many options before the right choice comes. We should try not to rush into things and make impulsive decisions. Rather digest situations thoroughly and research all possibilities. Only when you try and find the most appropriate direction for yourself can you have a clear goal. You will find that many people do many things that are a waste of time and a waste of life.
Embrace the change but also follow your heart and value. Knowing what to expect and your goals are learning how to allocate your attention and your time so you know how to spend your most precious resources.
Also, a piece of advice I’d like to share is that communication is crucial. Not only in the workplace, but also in a relationship. No matter how complex the task is, if you encounter any obstacles in the process, inform the relevant people in a timely manner, and put forward your solutions first. There will be someone you can connect with. Maybe this is a mentor, a colleague, or even an Uber driver. Work itself is also a process of information flow, for example managing a boss and colleagues’ expectations. The importance of communication is self-evident.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Santa Monica Beach
Santa Monica Beach is one of the most famous beaches in California, the terminus of Route 66. There is a pier that extends out into the sea on the beach, and above the dock is an amusement park with Ferris wheels, roller coasters, and other entertaining facilities. One of my favorite spots to go when I am in a bad mood and where I can recharge myself 🙂
A place with a great view to get one’s bearing. Above is the Milky Way and below is the bustling downtown Los Angeles. It’s one of the closest places to see the Hollywood sign. A great way to experience “LA LA land.”
Los Angeles County Museum of Arts is one of the larger museums in Southern California. My favorite experience from this museum are the urban lights. The lights are outside the museum’s gate, so you don’t need to pay and go inside to experience this. You can come at any hour, preferably at night and take pictures. But if you want to experience the museums thoroughly, come during the day.
Super cute rooftop with Asian fusion food, it’s suitable for some drinks and then dinner, and they sometimes have rooftop movies as well with a nice view of the surrounding city. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate a shout-out to Zonestone Music. I was lucky to have the opportunity to work there. I got to know many incredible people in the industry and they provided me an opportunity to get my foot in the door when I first came to LA. Moreover, the founder became my best friend during the five years I’ve been in LA and is the person who has always been there for me through the good and the bad. What’s more, I’m grateful for all my friends and family who have been there especially the ones that were here to support me during this difficult time – even when I felt negative.