What You ‘Get Out’ Is What You Put In

In an artistic career, we choose to quit not because we aren’t having fun or aren’t being challenged, but because we allow definitions of “success” determine our self-worth

Written by Anthony Meindl

Sometimes you’re going to want to quit.

It’s normal. People feel that way in all walks of life and in all pursuits; from artists to athletes; from mothers to media moguls. If you didn’t feel that way, I’d think you were maybe not normal.

But often, in an artistic career path, we choose to quit not because we aren’t having fun or aren’t being challenged, but because we allow society’s (warped and incorrect) definitions of “success” determine our self-worth and happiness.

But society has it all wrong.

You aren’t creating for millions of dollars. You aren’t creating to have your face on a gigantic billboard. You aren’t creating to have the most famous website or brand.

You’re creating for the pure joy of creating.

(Yes, those other things are fine – and they stroke your ego deliciously – but they are the end-products of creating and ultimately don’t bring happiness.)

But you let society’s standards of “success” poison your joy of your journey. Of honoring who you are and where you are. 

If you’re 30 and “haven’t made it,” or “aren’t famous,” or still have “a day job,” you internalize the negative associations derived from a monetary and results-oriented model that says “you’re a failure,” or “untalented.”

And then you turn these untruths on yourself and start feeling resentful. Or angry. Or jealous. Or bitter. And feel like you deserve to be getting “something back.”

It’s understandable!

But you can’t take on this societal dysfunction. Stop making an artistic process (or any process for that matter) a means to an end.

There is no end to get to.

Start giving back to yourself. You’re never going to get it “back” from society anyway. Because society and its standards are fickle and based on the whims of fads and trends and demographics and sales and popularity polls.

You want more love in your life; give more love. You want more support; give more support. You want more of an adventure; be more adventuresome.

It all starts with you. You want more from this world – go out into the world with more of yourself engaged. Smile more, listen to other people more, look on the upside of things more, laugh more, stop taking everything so seriously, be more generous, be more kind, be more forgiving.

As you do you’ll begin to feel that anything is possible.

And that’s because – in creating – it is.

“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” – Erica Jong


Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, producer, director and actor whose first feature screenplay, THE WONDER GIRLS, was the Grand Prize Winning Feature Screenplay in the Slamdance Film Festival Screenplay Competition in 2007. Prior to this accomplishment, Meindl was responsible for the production of an array of award-winning projects. His background in acting, training, and performance has afforded him the opportunity to create what has become a thriving artist community in Los Angeles.

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