Everybody gets discouraged. It is rare it seems (never happened to me anyway) that you would pursue a worthy goal, and while doing so, experience only incremental growth, progress, and success. In nearly everything I’ve done  (worth doing), there have been times when I thought to myself “I don’t know if I’m really going to be able to succeed here.” It’s during those times that one begins to question whether or not that goal is worth continuing to pursue. I mean, it’s easy to stay the course when you can see yourself getting closer and closer to your objective, no matter how slowly. But it takes another kind of commitment to keep striving when you’re getting farther away.

Now, if your’e Steven Leavitt, famous for his contributions to the field of economics, and for the   book Freakonomics, you might (rationally) be tempted to give up, at the first sign of anything but success in your endeavor. His rationale, stated in the podcast The Upside of Quitting https://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-upside-of-quitting-3/ is that it is irrational (and I paraphrase) to continue pursuing something with questionable returns, which keeps you from pursuing something you might be better suited for and more likely to succeed at. I can’t argue with this. Why beat your head against a wall?

However, it is also my experience that striving, and maintaining course, in the face of discouraging feedback, can also be the key to success. Giving up at the first negative (or lack of positive) feedback, has always seemed so…frivolous and fickle to me. Perhaps, the best way to take other-than-positive feedback, is not to abandon one’s goals, but one’s methods for achieving those goals instead. That too, IMHO, should be approached cautiously. In this too, I’m convinced that consistency is a hallmark of success, but you can’t be pigheaded either. If something doesn’t seem to be working, at some point, you have to try something else.

In light of all the uncertainty about when, and whether to abandon your methods and objectives, it is really encouraging when you get positive feedback, especially the kind that makes you want to double-down on whatever you’re doing. I just received some feedback like that from Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT, https://www.crkt.com/), one of the U.S.’ premier knife companies. I did a shoot for them back in March, and they are now using those images on their Instagram feed (below). It’s incredibly gratifying to see my work displayed for the world to see, and to know that it really meets the client’s intent for their brand.

This was a really challenging shoot too, which encapsulated an entire brand campaign comprised of introductory images, lifestyle imagery, shots of the products in use, and still-life product images. It was a major project, and kind of a reach for me, but it was super educational, and fun to do. My model (Jenna Forest of True South Wood Designs) and assistant (Zach Colton) were both killer to work with, and made everything easy. I’m glad they were both able to see a little feedback on their own work too.

It’s nice when you get a little encouragement.

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