This interview is the second of a five-part series conducted with mentors during Project Literacy Lab. Hear from the managing director of education at IDEO, an entrepreneur and activist from Pakistan, and a serial tech entrepreneur about finding motivation when you feel like giving up.

Have you ever been tempted to give up?

Khalida Brohi: There are times when I’m not tempted to give up, but I’m tempted to try other ideas. I always wonder if there are different roads which are better than what we are doing.

The question is not if you give up, it’s when and why do you give up? Tweet This Quote

Robert Reich: Giving up as it relates to a venture, yes, I’ve definitely given up. The question is, when do you give up and why do you give up?

Sandy Speicher: There are so many times that I felt like I should just give up and join the system. For the last eight years, I feel like I’ve been kind of fighting with myself around being part of something or forging a new territory—and what it takes to break through to that other side.

What motivates you to keep going?

KB: To tell you the truth, each time I think about my work not existing, I actually think that I don’t exist in the world. For people like us who found the reason for their living, we cannot imagine it without ourselves. There are times when I get really frustrated. I have this anxiety within me about if it’s working or not because behavioral change takes so long. We wait and see, and when the change starts, it’s actually extremely sustainable.

RR: When you decide to kill some entity you’re working on, for me at least, I go into a huge depression for some period of time. It’s your heart, it’s your soul when you create something. I want to put everything I have into it. But at a certain point, stubbornness starts to become damaging to what’s around you rather than being helpful. Finding that balance of what is damaging versus thinking ‘No, there’s still another hill I can go tackle’ is a challenge that entrepreneurs have to go through.

Go back to why you made a decision in the first place to make sure you don’t lose the reason for creating. Tweet This Quote

SS: I think it’s about grounding in the thing that helped you make that decision in the first place. It’s going back to those memories, going back to the people that you met that somehow, something clicked in you about a need they have or how the system isn’t functioning best to bring out who they are. Holding those stories alive has been important for me just to make sure I don’t lose the reason for creating.

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