Friday, April 3, 2009

They Always Tell You To Keep Trying- But When Should You Give Up?

As children most of us were told that we could do anything if we put our hearts in it. Try try and try again and you shall succeed. Even if you are a foot shorter than every other athlete on your team, your parents still tell you to try your best. Even if you can't begin to color within the lines, they'll urge you to enter those coloring contests. I don't ever remember my parents flat out telling me, "Honey, you suck. Why don't we focus on something else?" Of course with five of us running around they probably forgot I was even doing anything at all. You would have thought they'd intervene when producing a neighborhood film on teen pregnancy at age eleven... But consider if you're just terrible and will always be terrible? I mean, maybe if Paris Hilton's parents would have told her she was an awful singer and actor she would have focused on her real talents and designed a miniature pet clothing line or permanent lip gloss.

But now, efforts become trickier to judge. Without any real watch dog on true talent, try try and trying again can be a slippery slope into massive time wastage. For instance, in college I was in the film program with an affinity towards screenwriting. Expert I was not, but semi-talented I believe. I did after all have to submit samples against others, beat them out, and gain 1 of 2 coveted spots within the exclusive class. To me, this is a standard sign telling me I'm on the right path. But then everyone knows someone who is writing a screenplay. Once my involvement became collegiate public knowledge, the ambitious closet screenwriters sought me out. Bombarded me. Eager to share their prized Oscar worthy work. As I scanned the works, I discovered that 99.9% of the time they were utterly awful. I mean, terrible. I would retreat into my own inner dialogue, wondering how in the world they were never told they should not under any circumstances be writing screenplays? What led them so astray to believe in a talent they clearly lacked? And more importantly, oh my God, what if I am this awful and I just don't know it?

And then there are those celebrity stories of being told over and over again they would never be an actor-author-model-comedian and here they are Heidi Klum. She was told time and time again she was too curvy to be a model. Guess those naysayers didn't realize the potential of hot female + curves=bank. If she would have listened, she might be serving sausage at a beer tent in Germany. Which she'd probably still make close to a mil in tips anyway.

Which leads to me wonder...when do we really know? Do we ever know? Or do we keep trying until we end up living in a van or become a millionaire? Or do we never try at all, and end up in a cul-de-sac?


Jameil said...

you persevere until someone whose opinion you respect to give it to you straight tells you it's not gonna work or it will. (i love how i'm so lucid when it's time to give out advice but angst over it for myself...)

Adei von K said...

go for it. plus, what jameil said.