Hey everyone, I’m Caleb Arias and I’m the oldest of the four boys in our house. I’m 15 and was going into the tenth grade, but this year is different because I’m being homeschooled.


 My interests include:


Shooting and editing video

Drawing (Pen and paper & also on a Wacom tablet)



Story telling

Video games

Fresh grapes



I really don’t like school. I developed this dislike in the 5th grade and 5 years later I’m finally doing something about it.

In eighth grade I watched a lot of videos about the educational system and TED talks about homeschooling and it really caught my interest. Some of those videos include:

About halfway through eighth grade, I asked my parents if I could be homeschooled and they told me to think about it more and that they would also think about it. So summer goes by and I’m thinking about all the pros and cons and what it would be like to be homeschooled. I could come up with only one con at the time and it remains the biggest con: Not being able to hang out with my friends as much. The hardest and absolute worst part about being homeschooled is I only get to see my friends about two to three times a week (which is partly my fault) but I have to make plans and check with more people. It creates this whole new process to be with them as opposed to just walking out of school and instantly being with them for several hours and then going and doing it the next day. The only other con that I can think of is that it can get pretty boring on some days.

To get back on topic, near the end of 9th grade Meg and my dad came to me and told me that if I still wanted to be homeschooled that they would be willing to try it out. Obviously I said yes! On what would’ve been my first week as a 10th grader (starting August 4th) I got to assist on a photoshoot for Mellow Mushroom, go on a GOYA, met a guy who could give me an internship, shoot a video for DEDPXL, and spend time with my awesome cousin Grayson — who I sadly don’t get to hang out with as much as I’d like to — all because I’m homeschooled. That for me is what makes me happiest. I get so many more opportunities homeschooling as opposed to traditional school.

So here’s the thing with me:
I am good at lots of things but I’m not FANTASTIC at any of them.

I’m no better at drawing than I am at long boarding and I’m no better at shooting video than I am at editing it. It’s like instead of having a Masters degree in one thing I have a certification in about ten, and I love all of those things. The problem I face is deciding where to invest my time, money, and effort. I’m fortunate to have everything I need to create what I create, but the problem is I don’t create enough. There are zero excuses for me to not be making something awesome. I have everything I need. I have it too good. I have all of these things but no drive. No ideas. I’m always thinking of things to create but I get caught up in how much effort its GOING to take and how MUCH work I’m GOING to have to put into it to get the results I want. I think too much about how much it’s gonna suck MAKING the product and not the extreme glorious beautiful heart warming sensation a completed project brings me. Every time I say I’m going to do something, and then it gets done, and I see what I’ve created and I’m happy with it, there is no better feeling in the world. I inspire myself. (Explosion in the background while I look out into the distance with an eagle screeching inspirational quotes.)


I shoot and edit about 93% of all the videos on DEDPXL and when I saw the finished Crop vs Crap video I had this feeling of, “Yeah I did something!” My heart skipped 7 billion beats when it got picked up by all these websites and blogs and seeing the views go up just gave me this immense joy incomparable to anything.

I want what ever I do in life to give me that kind of joy. I feel like everyone deserves that kind of joy in their lives someway if through work, children, friends, religion, whatever. That’s what I want myself and everyone on this planet to have. Maybe that’s what I’ll do for a living. Make everyone happy by doing something that makes me happy.

So DEDPXL community I am asking you a favor: How should I invest my time, money, and effort into the work I do? When youre in a creative funk and don’t know what to do, how do you get your ass up off the couch and create a finished product? What gives you motivation? Thank you.


An ambitious lazy procrastinator (AKA Caleb)

Share on Pinterest

Leave a Reply


  1. Rodrigo Feijó

    Caleb, I’m a 29 year old Brazilian physicist/musician/photographer/serial masturbator, and I’m also good at many many things but ‘ace’ in absolutely none. I love your post and I learned quite a lot with you there.
    So if there’s one thing I can tell you, is don’t let people dismiss your ideas because of your age, man. You just taught me a lot there.
    Keep rocking mate,

    • caleb.arias

      Agh I never know how to thank people for their super kind words. Some times, “Thank you.” Cant really get across how much I appreciate your (and every one else’s) comment. I will try my best to convey my extreme appreciation, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I love reading all of these comments and hearing every ones stories. Thanks again. 🙂

  2. Greg

    Find a limitation and work around it. For instance, the X100s has a fixed 23mm lens. There are some things you can shoot…or is there. I have sound that limitations of gear, money, time etc are where the most beautiful art is created.

    FWIW – Procrastination is, in my opinion, the most useful trait in a man’s quiver. Cuts the chaff out in getting a project done. Your folks probably wont like that.

    • Greg

      “can’t shoot”

    • Greg

      and “found” not sound. Man, I need to edit myself before submit!

    • Si

      Ha me too – a procrastinator, but my god how often that delay has turned out to be vital thinking time. Time spent turning your projects and ideas over in your head, probing and refining and reshaping. It’s indispensable. And the worthwhile ideas – you get to a point where you can’t NOT begin the practical stuff.

  3. Mike

    I can relate to this. When I was a teenager I had a million great ideas and never pursued any of them.

    Now I’m 36 and I pursue about 5% of my ideas.

    Is that progress?

    If there’s one thing I know, it’s that if you wait for drive to show up, you’ll never do anything. Some people go from 0-60 before there feet hit the ground in the morning. Others aren’t so lucky.

    Just physically move yourself and start doing whatever it is you think you should be doing. Motion creates emotion. Pick up your camera, start typing, walk to the gym, whatever. It all starts from there.

    Forget about doing something awesome. Just do SOMETHING and maybe awesome will show up once you’re on your way.

  4. Jacob delaRosa

    Stay the course. I graduated from prestigious 4 year liberal arts college not really knowing what I wanted to do but hoping that maybe I would by the time I finished. I had always been artistic but never felt like it was a realistic choice to pursue it. After graduating I bounced from job to job (most of which I could have gotten with a GED) and 6 months of unemployment. Then I picked up a camera and found my calling. You have a very unique opportunity young sir, and it would be a shame if you didn’t chase it right now.

  5. Alex_Chaney

    Enjoyed the article brotha. I myself am an ambitious lazy procrastinator. The best advice I have for you is to look around you, look around at people your age. What are they doing? They’re in school learning Math. What a tremendous opportunity you have to do something different. Take advantage of every single one of those opportunities. Finish a project that you feel like sucks. Because eventually you will create that one you feel is golden. Don’t be afraid of being inspired to create something weird. Stay a kid, but realize you’re already three steps ahead.

    good work.

    • caleb.arias

      Thank you so much! 🙂 I really love doing little weird projects but sometimes its difficult to see the things I create and not be happy with them 100%. Its difficult to have the mindset that what I’m doing is just for fun. I treat everything as if the whole world would see it.Thank you again for the input. *Thumbs up emoji*

  6. Steven

    Hi Caleb,
    first of all sorry if I make some mistakes, I’m french and my english is not perfect… I’m a mechanical engineer, and in my free time I enjoy photography.

    When I was your age, I started photography, and launch my first website. It was really uggly but it was a good start to motivate me to show my work. And I think this is a good start to put effort into somthing. I believe we are lucky to live in an era where we can share our creations on so many media and platforms.

    If you start to show your work to the world (on facebook, a website, 500px, or any other stuff…) and people start to interact with you, you will want to do more, to see if you are working in the right direction.

    Don’t compare your work to the others. There are always better than you. Always! No matter which field you are working for. But you can have a special interest (for me it’s film photography) to share with others and to try to develop. And the technique (in art, in sport…) will come with experience. At the end, you will have do something. Everyone can have ideas, but not everyone are “doers”! And that will motivate you to know that you are wasting your time on what you truly love.

  7. Jon

    Caleb, you’ll find that many people are in the same situation as you are. It’s just we’re all older, and blame a day job or something for it.

    I’m right there. I’m looking at my desk: it has a breadboard with a PIC microprocessor, a BeagleBone Black, a Raspberry Pi, my old reliable Olympus E-PL1 with a handful of lenses, my laptop…I have equipment. I have tools. I have ideas in my head to use them all.

    In other words, I have the beginnings of half-a-dozen projects, and ideas to match (finish that homebrew weather station, go out and actually shoot that series I have in my head, etc etc etc), but like you — zero drive. I’m waiting for something to inspire me. I daydream of these projects when they’re done. Perhaps I have too many tools, too many ideas. My brain is too scattered to focus.

    Here’s the thing, though — I find my daydreams of my completed projects are actually holding me back from actually completing them. My daydreams are telling me that the completed project won’t be half as good as I’m imaging them to be. And, because of that, I never finish them. I don’t want to be disappointed.

    But you know what? I’m tired of not being disappointed. I’ve recently found that being disappointed is what makes you better. You have to fail, so you know when you’ve won.

    So, as others have said — just do *something*. Anything. Put it out there. Be disappointed in it. Then use *that* as inspiration to do better.

  8. Jeffrey

    Hey Caleb,

    I wish I could give some sort of advice on how to help you, but even though I’m 21 I’m also what I feel to be an ambitious lazy procrastinator. I graduated from college this May with a bachelors degree in Computer Science, but like you I too am good at many things but am fantastic at nothing. I can’t offer advice, but I can offer empathy and let you know that even people who are older and a little farther in life than you are can be in similar predicaments. Your post did give me a little push though to really start thinking more about what I should or should not invest my time in, as it seems like lately my time has been invested in staying at home and playing League of Legends lol. Hope to hear some more from you and best of luck with your decision making.

  9. jason

    As someone who also describes himself as an ambitious lazy procrastinator (great description by the way, and someone who just turned 30), I can say that this feeling never seems to depart. So many things to accomplish, so little time and effort. Honestly Caleb, your miles ahead of most 15 year olds, you’ve discovered that high school is mostly a failed social experiment, and that learning is secondary to whatever social lessons you may pick up. So going the home schooling route is the way to go. I myself, went the academic route, degree in civil engineering, because I didn’t have a clear path in the creative world, and have had to force my way in, and make it my own. So you ask yourself, what you should focus on? I’d say the things that make you want to get out there and get it done. Choose projects that give you no other choice but to GOYA! And when you’re in a funk, try something different, combine two worlds, take two ideas and make them one, get out of your comfort zone. You’re so young, and are miles ahead most, use that to your advantage, try lots of things, maybe think about college, maybe don’t, its way different than high school. How do you get up off your ass? Simple, just stand up!

  10. Frank Grygier

    Caleb, A young man your age has all the freedom in the world to pursue whatever interests him without the pressure of succeeding at any of them. Allow yourself the chance to just dream and your heart will guide you. Draw from the well of motivation that you used to write this blog to pursue what makes you happy. There is no better way to spread happiness than to just be happy. It is infectious. Your work shows production value beyond your years. Do a longboarding video. Wrap two of your passions in one effort. Just have fun and the rest will take care of itself.

    • Frank Grygier

      Forgot to mention. I am a chronic procrastinator. I have been doing it for 63 years. I am getting better at following my dreams of being a good photographer and making a movie is on my bucket list. I haven’t written the list down yet though. Waiting for the right moment.

  11. loui

    I get motivation from being lazy.

    Be lazy, & learn from it.

  12. Mark Viducich

    I looked at your list of likes. If story telling falls into the category of creative writing then my vote for your future goes there. I read your post and liked it for its’ creative honesty. Those are two virtues that seldom come together via the written word. When they do you cannot spend enough time or money on what I feel is your future. Writing is about imagination, research and experience and the ability to translate them into prose. Well, it seems your background is firmly rooted in a creative family atmosphere–a priceless heritage you need to exploit.

  13. Eric


    Like some of the other comments here you will have to GOYA and just “start” something. Let the path from there guide you. You are young with a multitude of paths in front of you. At this point in life forget being a master. The point when you start thinking about becoming a master is when your radar has locked on a target that you just can release. Until then explore your paths. Here is an article that kind of explains why it is good to be a jack of all trades.


    “They say I’m lazy but it takes all my time” — Joe Walsh

  14. Dan

    My advice? Put your ass were your heart wants to be.

    Overthinking kills creativity, and it’s the best way to not get things done.

    If you are thinking about something, just go and start doing. It will be to much work, yes, it will be a hassle, but it also will be much easier than you think.

    When you start doing something, and not only thinking about it, things fall into place.

    Joey L. (and the way he tackles his personal projects) could be an inspiration to you. Read his blog. I think he and your father are two great dudes with a lot to teach.

  15. Teo

    I’m also a 15-year old ambitious lazy procrastinator. I can relate to most things in this article: having lots of interests and skills (photography, filmmaking, design, music, etc.) but not one central obsession, dissatisfaction with the public school system, and a kind of hope that there’s a way I can break out of the cycle of inspiration > started project > burnout > more inspiration.

    Thank you so much for writing this — it’s materialized so eloquently what I’ve always known about myself. I’m not sure I can take the bold step of dropping out of high school and being homeschooled, but your thoughts have given me a sort of second wind on creativity, work ethic, and the like. 🙂

    I really appreciate the help this has given me. Now I know to just keep going on a project even if I lose inspiration, because it will be worth it.

    I’d love to hear others’ advice on what you wish you had done/who you wish you had been in high school in terms of executing ideas or creativity.

    Thanks again,

    • caleb.arias

      Teo you sound like a super cool guy and if you live near Atlanta I would like to hangout with you at some point. In regards to your comment, yes holy crap I am always in that cycle and its a pretty terrible one. Always always continue on projects you feel aren’t that great because at least you will have the peace of mind and satisfaction of knowing you completed something (Hey Caleb you should help yourself the advice that you’re offering). Thanks for the comment and keep doin’ you, Teo.

      • Teo

        Unfortunately I live in California! But follow me on Instagram @suitjackets. 🙂

        Thanks again.

  16. Jeremy

    Leave doors open, but don’t be afraid to fail. Be willing to work as hard as you can in whatever you try.

    Like you, I have too many hobbies and interests. You can’t learn everything, you can’t do everything, so eventually you have to narrow things down, but my recommendation would be to not worry about it at this point. I think my life has worked out pretty well, but if I had any regrets, it would be that I prematurely closed doors, such as by not doing as well in school as I could have because I didn’t care about the structured educational environment. Someday, when I have kids, I hope they are as naturally inquisitive and interested in learning as you are, and my plan is to have them “learn” outside of the school environment, but go to school to hang out with their friends. I really don’t get school, even now, but I’ve learned that when you’re passionate about something, all of the work and investment of time, energy, and money seem to make sense. I pretty much gave up on school in 5th grade too, and I still don’t like school, but I’m in med school now, so maybe that gives you some hope.

    I’m always looking for motivation and trying to figure out why I do what I do, or why I should continue to pursue something, and for me at this point, I follow my heart. It’s not as simple as what I feel like doing in the moment, but I try to put as much effort into becoming the person that I want to be down the road, whether is six months from now or 20 years from now, and invest in that. It’s more work than I expected it to be, especially med school at the moment, but it’s enabled me to have to some incredible life experiences, including GPP 2014.

    More than anything, stay humble and never stop learning.

  17. Patrick Magee

    I was in the same situation (other than homeschooling!) when I was your age – about 45 years ago. In my case the school put me in a second year electronics course because of “circumstances” in another class. I found I loved it, but I also loved photography. It turns out I was much better suited to follow the electronics path and it provided a lifetime of support for my photography hobby. I was good at my job and enjoyed it. To me that was the key to happiness, finding what I was skilled at doing and putting myself into an enjoyable work environment. At your age I suggest searching for what you enjoy and have superior skills. There is situation like that out there for everyone, it’s just a matter of finding it. Oh, and don’t forget to keep up with the math studies. Math turns out to be very useful in artistic endeavors as well as engineering.

  18. Anthony Hereld


    The best advice I can give you is to continue being good at lots of things until you find something that truly speaks to you. I think our society asks a lot of young people in that we want them to make a major career commitment at the age of 18.

    So many people spend tens of thousands of dollars on a college education that they never use…or worse, spend their lives stuck in a career that they hate, but they do it for the money. Next thing you know, they’re locked into a 30 year mortgage and their entire lives end up revolving around how much “stuff” they can acquire before they die. That’s not living. That’s waiting to die. The last thing you want is to look back and wonder, “what if?”

    Experiment. Mess up. Grow.

  19. Louis Leblanc

    Find projects that gets you going. Look at the intersection of your interests. Also keep an open mind to things to things you don’t think you like. A few years back I decided I didn’t like uncooked tomatoes. I tried them this summer and I’m actually starting to like them in greek salads. So I missed out on uncooked tomatoes for a few, that’s not too bad.

    But it would suck if you turn down say math because you had a terrible teacher once. Math is actually pretty freaking fascinating and useful when you don’t fear it. Actually, I find most things in life to be fascinating, stay curious and impressionable. Learning things is awesome.

    I’m the same way as you, I have tons of interests but I master few things. Even more so when I was in high-school. I got better at a few of them since then. I learned a lot by building and tinkering with things. It forces you to learn new subjects and new skills and is really rewarding.

    Being ok at a bunch of things is a skill in it’s own right and it’s called being knowledgeable and curious. I’m just 23 but from what I know, knowledgeable and curious people are typically interesting people that get around. Even if you master something very specific and make money from it, knowing all those other things is really super useful. Not only do they actually show up from time to time, you also gain a lot of transferable skills and knowledge.

    As for finishing projects, set deadlines. Enter competitions, tell people when you’ll be done…

    Lastly, some inspiration to get going. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER7rhQ7N69k

    Keep it up, Caleb!

  20. Yvens

    Superb superb superb post Caleb. I’m 30 y.o. and stil struggling with following my truest desire. It took my mother’s passing this year to unlock this thing in me that has been dormant. I applaud you for taking such a “risk” and your parents to injecting faith into your conviction.

    Post like these make me trust that the future is in good hands.

    I manage a music video company shooting mainly in Montreal and LA. While my friend is the creative force, being a licensed accountant, I manage the rest.
    That being said…
    My 2 cents ; Just make sure you tag along someone that has business smarts but keep a very tight understanding of your business, it frees up creativity and allows you to make faster and better decisions, which your future clients will appreciate.

    Good luck and again *slow clap*.



  21. Pete

    You never stop learning. I’m 53, have a shelf full of vintage cameras and love them. I bought a Fuji X20 by chance, loved it and thought this is so good what’s next. Google, your Dad’s video,s an X100s and now I have a shelf of new Fuji gear. Have I turned in to the best photographer in the world no. Am I happy yes!!! I like most people am time poor. In my Den ( we call it a study in the UK) I have a 10 inch Tigger with a wobbly head who is the most photographed thing in the world. Lit by a desk lamp that gets moved over here and over there it’s my studio! I have a million projects in my head so will start off simple to bank some wins. Doors and Windows is the first.

    I work for myself as an IT consultant started 7 years ago when I got fed up of being a VP corporate guy. My only advice is to find yourself a system to mange your ambition and time. I use my own version of Getting Things Done. It’s really good because it helps you mange the things that you need to do now but has a system for storing your ideas for the future and managing the bits in between. Heres a link to the book.


    Change is tough, but you have a great Mum and Dad who obviously trust you to do the right things. Just remember the more you practice the luckier you get!!!

  22. Keith

    Man, I wish I’d had that opportunity 17 years ago when I was 15. If I were in your shoes, had just written the above, and I know what I know about myself now at 2 weeks away from turning 32, this is what I’d write to myself (Hows that for mega-meta-confusion?)

    You’ve been given this awesome opportunity to discover yourself outside of traditional education. Hug your dad, kiss your mom, and thank the universe that you have amazing parents who are supportive of your ambition and talents.

    Now that we’ve got that out of the way… you feel pride when you do something good in a medium / subject you care about. That’s meaningful. Focus your energy there. Be mindful about why it makes you proud. Are you proud because YOU did it, or are you proud because of anything anyone else says about it, including your family? If the latter, refocus refocus refocus. Find what makes you happy and proud for you, and do it for you. Pour your soul, blood, sweat, and tears in it for you. People will notice. Also be mindful about why you like it. Is it human connection? Is it technical? Is it a sense of control? Is it a sense of freedom? Remember what it is that scratches a particular itch in your brain, and focus on that.

    Learn about adjacent practices that might tickle it the same way, but outside of what you’re doing. Like to shoot portraits because of the human element? As a charitable act, go somewhere with people you can serve who are wildly different, a soup kitchen, men’s shelter, women’s shelter. Don’t take a camera. Go serve and listen. Let your heart and mind grow. Take that experience with you the next time you look through a viewfinder.

    On the subject of motivation, If you do it for anyone else for any length of time, you’ll eventually hit a wall. A 20′ tall three layer thick cinderblock wall. You’ll hit it hard. You’ll find yourself drawn to other things that, for years, you’ve done for yourself but never really thought critically about. Mindfulness son, mindfulness. Learn to quiet your mind and drown out noise and focus on why things are meaningful to you. Learn about other things that can be meaningful in the same way. Self, at 32, you’re still struggling with that. I’ll probably continue to struggle with it at 42.

    Now, all that feel good hippy bullshit out of the way. This thing you’ve now discovered that you love, that you are pouring your time, energy, money, busted knuckles, sweat, relationships, and everything else into. It has an underbelly. Want to do it for pay? Learn about business. It’s no fun, but you gotta learn it. Want to do it for pay, and have a steady stream of business? Learn about sales cycles, building a target list, promoting, marketing. Want to do it for pay, and have clients that are businesses? Learn about budgeting and billing and client expectation management. All of that stuff sucks to do. Find a mentor in a business who will talk to you about things like that. Soak it up like a sponge.

    Then, just as soon as all of that un-fun becomes overwhelming (it won’t take long), come back to mindfulness. Quiet yourself, listen to your thoughts, simplify things, and do what you love for love of it. For yourself. For nobody else. Find peace there. Go back and give to the community and have those conversations that feed your personal connection appetite. These things will oscillate back and forth. There is no balance, it’s learning how to transition smoothly back and forth. Wax on. Wax off. This isn’t just true for creative pursuits, it’s any job that anybody ever loved, ever. There’s an un-fun side to all of it.

    Ok, that’s it. That’s what I’d tell myself if I were in your exact shoes 17 years ago. Best wishes, and I can’t wait to see more of your work.

    • Meg

      This. ^^^^^^ So much this. LOVE.

      • Keith

        Thanks, Meg. You and Zack are raising some exceptional young men. Cheers to loosening the reigns and allowing them freedom to explore what they love.

  23. Robin M.

    Caleb, so much great life knowledge has come in response to your blog. If I may, I’ll add just a little more.

    Don’t be in such a hurry to be fantastic at something. Take this time to experiment, explore, and learn what inspires and motivates you. There will be no other time in your life when someone else is paying the rent, for your food, and the other necessities of life!

    Being fantastic at something requires not only talent but years of study, practice, and hard work. Luckily you have two prime examples of “fantastic” living under the same roof! Learn as much from them as you can.

    And finally…. Travel, travel, travel!

  24. Richard Wintle

    Wow, it’s turned into Procrastinators’ Anonymous in the comments here. Good thing, because I’m another charter member. 😉

    I am going to be unhelpful by adding “writing” to the list of things you’re good at. This is a well crafted piece and it obviously has resonated with a lot of people, myself included. Bravo. And FWIW I think the DEDPXL videos are very nicely done – I suspect you could build a career right there if you wanted to.

    But the other thing is… you’re 15. That’s a good, young age. From my forty-*ahem*-something viewpoint, it seems people your age are being pressured to make Big Career Choices at a younger and younger age. You’ve got time. Procrastinating is a short-term thing to get away from doing hard, or boring, or confusing stuff. It’s different from letting your life unfold a bit… I think you’ve already heard a bunch of people comment that they’re farther on the path and still looking for what it is that lights their fire. That’s ok. You should try and find it and pursue the heck out of it as early in life as you can, sure, but there’s nothing wrong with doing stuff you like, or enjoy, while still seeing that one thing that really blows your hair back. Life may be short, sure, but that’s just one more reason to lay back and enjoy it as it unfolds. Don’t beat yourself up trying to be creative if you feel like long boarding for a few hours… you’re 15, things will come, believe me.

    I hope there’s a point to that preceding paragraph because I think I may have lost it somewhere along the way. 😉

    • Richard Wintle

      “Seeking”. “Still *seeking* that thing that really blows your hair back.”

      Stoopid newfangled computational device.

  25. dadu007

    I don’t know what the hell to tell to you do, but whatever you do:

    #1. Save 10% percent of every freekin’ dollar you make.
    #2. Do NOT go into debt. Period. No debt.
    #3. Learn how to take criticism and let it roll off your back. Take what you needed to hear from others and discard the rest.
    #4. Listen to that still silent voice in your head.
    #5. Don’t buy shit you don’t need for personal and professional endeavors. Wants are different from needs.
    #6. Pray to God every day and thank Him for the gift of your life.
    #7. Thank God every day for your parents and siblings and relatives and friends and critics and enemies. They all have something to teach you.
    #8. God loves you, no matter how much you screw up.

    We home-schooled our children for several years; we loved it. For different reasons (and opportunities we could not give them), we stopped, but have not ruled out going back to it. You have many inroads with your parents’ connections.

    All the best!

    • Mark L

      +100….Caleb print that and stick it on the fridge, bathroom mirror, and toilet door so you see it every day. Heck, ask if you can get it tattooed 😉

  26. Majd

    Hey caleb,
    The advice I can give you is collaborate, collaborate, collaborate!
    The great thing about creativity is that it is all around. There are so many people who have amazing ideas but don’t have the means to bring these ideas to life. You have the means. Bring more brains to the table and create. The best thing about collaboration with other artists is that it gives a glimpse on a whole world of creative ideas that is different than yours.
    Similarly, when your creativity is speaking to you and you have a great idea, look for those who are stuck and bring them to work with you. Don’t be afraid of sharing your vision.
    That way your projects will be great not only as creative accomplishments but also as stories and memories that opened your world into endless possibilities.
    Just imagine how vast your world would become and how big your network is going to be. The best thing about this in your case is that you will get the “friends at school” kind of compromise. You get to socialize and enjoy your time with the company of other creatives.

  27. Carlos Sandoval

    Caleb. You are a very young person. Everything in your life is ahead of you. You are surrounded by great talents in your family; trust them and they will trust you. Don`t try to be that genius everybody expects in this generation of fast directions without aims and goals to pursue… Be true to yourself and live your life at natural pace, without pressure. At least you are good at many things, but, the most important thing is that those great skills come second nature to ya. Always be hungry for knowledge and never get caught in that lazy comfortable zone a lot of fellas park at. I´m a film buff and an amateur photographer who´s still chasing the big whale of making films for a living even if it takes the rest of my days. I´m 38 years of age and work as a film programmer and a camera and editor of institutional stuff, and always put my personal voice in every bit of what I do, and, you know what, it feels great. Martin Scorsese calls that smuggling. Do that with every project (personal or not), and you will find the experience rewarding and you´ll always learn something new. Keep an open mind and use everything that comes to ya on your behalf; use it to your favor. Enough said, I think you are a very passionate boy, keep yourself on the right track and I leave you here with another passionate man. The man who knew how to deal with what made his heart beat. Cheers. The best.



  28. Roo Powell


    Great production.

    Better than my efforts at the same age!

    I went on to work in film & TV. Now photography and film-making I do for pleasure. If you enjoy it, and someone will pay you to do it, then you’re a lucky lad.

    Sorry Zack, you mean he doesn’t get paid!!!


  29. Erin Wilson

    Caleb, there are some folks who are successful exactly because they have multiple interests. They’re able to bridge thoughts and ideas that others can’t. Nurture what you’ve got going.

    If you’re making the videos for the site, ask for the chance to do an entire project. Budget included. Learn to manage the financial side of a job, and it will serve you for the rest of your life.

    My last piece of advice… use your gifts to help someone out. Teach someone younger, make a video for a charity in your city to use for promotions, whatever. Give to your community now, with whatever gifts you’ve got. It’s the only thing that makes community work.

    You’re going to do just fine, Caleb.

  30. Dave H

    “It’s like instead of having a Masters degree in one thing I have a certification in about ten, and I love all of those things.” This describes me very well.

    Great post. We met briefly when your dad had a few of us over for dinner after a day in the studio. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Mark L

    Son, your parents are VERY proud of you. And now a bunch of strangers are too. DADU007 pretty much said what I would’ve so I’ll just add these : you must learn to take criticism (ouch) which is tough for anyone but reaches critical mass in the teenage years. One of my models is a dancer/teacher and she says the hardest to teach are the teens because they simply cannot handle criticism. Getting on top of that will put you one step ahead of your peers. Avoid forums etc they’re full of mindless talentless trolls. Keep your family and friends close because they are way cooler than anyone you’ll see on tv and will love you unconditionally, unlike the fake cool ones who are shallower than a puddle. And all those things you love? Throw yourself at all of them (as long as they’re GOOD things!) and the “right” one will be revealed to you. It could even be a surprise – like an astronaut or something ;-p So go for it and maintain a presence on this site, I’m sure we’d all love to follow your progress! Regards from Australia (big island between Pacific & Indian Oceans), Mark
    PS; And remember…chicks LOVE astronauts 😉

  32. Airraid

    Don’t label yourself. Don’t believe everything you think. Be as patient, polite, and gentle to yourself as others. You are not Lazy nor a Procrastinator, but you do need to learn more about yourself. Read “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. Work on good habits.

    Several of the comments above referred to mindfulness. Read Jon Kabat-Zinn to learn more if the idea speaks to you.

    Keep writing. A lot.

    You won’t regret anything to which you gave 100%.

  33. Simon

    Hi Caleb.

    I didn’t read all the post so this might be redundant but just know that you are not alone. I’M a 29 years old, recently graduated mechanical engineer with a passion for photography. I got no jobs, I wasn’t the best in my class so the phones isn’t ringing of the hook and I’m not an extremely talented photographer either.

    But I KNOW that. and you do too or else you wouldn’t have made this post.

    Just know that there will ALWAYS be people more talented than you. ALWAYS. Especially thanks to the internet. (20 years ago at least they didn’t show off everywhere… 😉 )

    Since you KNOW you’re not the best, don’t aim for that. I’m sure you have a tough time choosing a path because you like them all and are probably passionate about all of them equally. Use it. Tell stories about fellow longboarders and include drawings and everything.

    Take a page from David hobby’s book: http://strobist.blogspot.ca/2014/05/ecosystems-101-photography-as-catalyst.html

    “Photography is not your life. Photography is your special sauce. Your secret weapon. Your superpower.”

    Good luck! (most of us are still strying to figure this out 15 years down the road from you!)

  34. Lukas

    Beeing “ok” in doing many things (instead of beeing a genious in dooing one thing only) is a typical feature of entrepreneurs. Seriously, there is significant academic research on this. Being relatively good at many things is what a company leader needs.
    The simple reason is: Running a company requires more that just having a good product. You need to be good at many things… planning, organizing, solving problems of dozens of kinds, sometimes even at the same time. If you need an expert in a specific field, you can hire him. But in order to run the whole thing it requires a generalist, not an expert.

  35. Dave

    It’s courageous and thoughtful of you to share your feelings and thoughts. Thanks! Honestly you sound like a really exceptional young man. That you are even asking these types of questions, wanting to be exceptional, wanting to lead a joyful life and contribute to others at this point is remarkable in itself.

    Great videos btw. The Creativity talk by Ken Robinson is one of my all-time favorites. it’s one of the few I recommend to all those new to TED. Dave Eggers’ talk is pretty awesome as well.

    You have skills and talents, are ambitious and driven and it seems like you accomplish quite a lot. Perhaps be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to relax and be patient – allow things to develop naturally and enjoy the Journey. If your best friend was in a similar place, what would you say to her/him?

    I was really into music (drums) and was a gym rat when in high school. Both really physical in nature and of course drums being expressive and creative as well. These were both great outlets and helped to “get me out of my head” so to speak, especially when I felt stuck. Plus, physical activities can release a lot of endorphins which can be very beneficial.

    Perhaps this is where your Longboarding comes in? Maybe commit to doing this for 30 minutes every day….or something. Have you seen the video on SLOMO (http://vimeo.com/59749737)? I heard an interview with him on The Rich Roll podcast and then watched the video. Very cool.

    Finding your “tribe” is important. People who share your passions and ideals and connect with regularly. It sounds like that’s been challenging for you. Maybe you can start a group for people who like to tell stories about fresh grapes while they are Longboarding? 🙂

    I recently heard an interview with Seth Godin on The Good Life Project. When asked what a good life was, he responded that it was one that was lived for oneself. I’ve heard other really thoughtful responses, but his was one of the most interesting.

    He too focused on the Journey rather than the end. Do we have the strength and courage to listen to ourself and live with an open heart? To embark and persevere on the Hero’s Journey, ready to meet and take on whatever obstacles and challenges come our way. In the end, the Journey is what gives us the most satisfaction. For me that’s often the most challenging part of being an artist – being tapped into the end result rather than the ride itself.

    If you like to read consider “Way of The Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. My uncle gave this to me in my late teens when I was going through some difficult stuff. it made a difference.

    If you want ways to help find your tribe, check out “Tribes’ by Seth Godin. I actually think that’s what Carl is doing at night in the studio 😉

    If you are into video, check out Casy Neistat (http://www.casey.nyc/index.html). I heard a great interview with him and then went to his site. Very cool. Amazing really.

    Keep up the great work you are doing….


  36. Dave

    It’s courageous and thoughtful of you to share your feelings and thoughts. Thanks! Honestly you sound like a really exceptional young man. That you are even asking these types of questions, wanting to be exceptional, wanting to lead a joyful life and contribute to others at this point is remarkable in itself.

    Great videos btw. The Creativity talk by Ken Robinson is one of my all-time favorites. it’s one of the few I recommend to all those new to TED. Dave Eggers’ talk is pretty awesome as well.

    You have skills and talents, are ambitious and driven and it seems like you accomplish quite a lot. Perhaps be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to relax and be patient – allow things to develop naturally and enjoy the Journey. If your best friend was in a similar place, what would you say to her/him?

    I was really into music (drums) and was a gym rat when in high school. Both really physical in nature and of course drums being expressive and creative as well. These were both great outlets and helped to “get me out of my head” so to speak, especially when I felt stuck. Plus, physical activities can release a lot of endorphins which can be very beneficial.

    Perhaps this is where your Longboarding comes in? Maybe commit to doing this for 30 minutes every day….or something. Have you seen the video about SLOMO on Vimeo? I heard an interview with him on The Rich Roll podcast and then watched the video. Very cool.

    Finding your tribe is important. People who share your passions and ideals and connect with regularly. It sounds like that’s been challenging for you. Maybe you can start a group for people who like to tell stories about fresh grapes while they are Longboarding? 🙂

    I recently heard an interview with Seth Godin on The Good Life Project. When asked what a good life was, he responded that it was one that was lived for oneself. I’ve heard other really thoughtful responses, but his was one of the most interesting.

    He too focused on the Journey rather than the end. Do we have the strength and courage to listen to ourself and live with an open heart? To embark and persevere on the Hero’s Journey, ready to meet and take on whatever obstacles and challenges come our way. In the end, the Journey is what gives us the most satisfaction. For me that’s often the most challenging part of being an artist – being tapped into the end result rather than the ride itself.

    If you like to read consider Way of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. My uncle gave this to me in my late teens when I was going through some difficult stuff. it made a difference.

    If you want ways to help find your tribe, check out Tribes by Seth Godin. I actually think that’s what Carl is doing at night in the studio 😉

    If you are into video, check out Casy Neistat. I heard a great interview with him and then went to his site. Very cool. Amazing really.

    Keep up the great work you are doing….


  37. Tommi

    I know quite a few lazy procrastinators. They’re all very, very good at what they do. I’d say ambition can get you started, but it’s passion that ultimately pushes you to success.

    As to getting out of a creative funk, here’s my little secret. Whenever my creative juices stop flowing at work, I stimulate my creativity with photography. It’s an entirely different kind of creative task that requires completely different thinking. When I go back to work after that, the problems are gone, or at least not as bad as they were before. There’s no guarantee it works for you, but maybe you’d like to try. So. What else creative interests you? Writing? Music? Sculpture?

    Oh, and since people are giving you life lessons here, here’s one more: be honest. Always, even when it’s difficult or painful. Everyone makes mistakes, occasionally everyone f*cks up royally when they should have known better. In those situations some people sugar coat it, some people cover it up, some people blame others. But only the honest deserve and get real forgiveness. And real forgiveness is what gets them hired *again*.

    By the way, considering how often *everyone* on this planet is wrong, isn’t it weird how rare it is to hear the words “I was wrong”?

  38. David Taranza

    I am amazed how advanced you are in your thinking and your skills. At your age, I did not even try to think about what I wanna do in my life.
    You do a pretty good job for DEDPXL, as far as I can assess. Keep honing your skills, I am sure we will hear great things of you in the future!
    Good luck, man!

  39. Brien

    Okay. Teacher here. Homeschool. Fun. Not a bad thing if done right. Just make sure whatever you do academically or otherwise is rigorous and has depth. A struggle we have in education is that our standards are sometimes spread waaay tooooo wide. So…too many things to cover in a year unless you only touch on them. read: Mile wide and an inch deep. Things are changing, but think of this homeschool as an opportunity to dig for miles of depth on single subjects before jumping to the next topic. You mentioned being certified in about 10 different things, but a master of none of them at this point. What a great opportunity to master a few of them! Good luck! Take care.

  40. Sid Ceaser

    Oh Caleb, bless you for being mature enough to be asking these questions at the young age of 15. When I was your age the only thing I was thinking about was girls, getting my learners permit, and blowing into my Castlevania game to make sure it worked on my Nintendo.

    Actually, that isn’t true. Here is what I was doing when I was 15: http://youtu.be/eMoPUEuea28?list=UUkpeYN7iZhm17xiDjldPYyA

    When I was 15, I had this great little camera called a Fisher Price PXL2000. It recorded on high-bias cassette tapes. It was all grainy and pixelated and it was a plastic toy. A friend put it in my paws and within a few days, my Fred the Frog puppet (who resembled Phil Collins in my opinion) magically came to life. It was amazing.

    Back then, there wasn’t any internet to share this with. I had my folks and my friends and that was it. And instead of hearing things like “How could you push this further?” or “Keep doing this” I was met with “That’s stupid” or “Stop playing with dolls”. So I kept it to myself; recording music videos or wars with action figures and I would put them on tapes and watch them alone. Because I thought they were great. Because I created something alive, buried in that grainy footage. And, most importantly, because I *created* it.

    When I graduated high school, I wasn’t ready for college. I spent my 20’s working at various music stores, and then dabbled a little in video game journalism. All the while I was taking polaroid pictures of G.I. Joe’s having battles. My Super Powers figures were frozen in film – flying through the air. Saving the planet.

    Making things was like this virus I had in my brain; if I went to long I would start to get really really sad. It was like I had an itch in my head that making something – a picture, a video, designing a mix-tape jacket for a friend, could only chase away.

    Finally one day I decided that it was time to back to school and really dig myself deep in photography. I had to. Because my heart was unhappy unless I was making a picture.

    I went back to college when I was in my late 20’s. I went when I was ready. And it was like my brain exploded. Have you ever had a really itchy back and someone gave you a really awesome backscratch? It’s like you want to melt into a puddle of awesomeness. That was what it was like immersing myself back into creating images. Like an awesome backscratch. Like a first kiss. Like a perfect breeze on a gorgeous fall day.

    From that moment on, I knew that the only thing I wanted to do was make images until I die.

    It took me 26 years to get to that moment. Sometimes it seems like you’ll never find what you were meant to do. Sometimes you find it instantly. Things take time. You are still growing and learning and turning into an amazing human being. You are surrounded by amazing, talented, nurturing people and parents who will help you. Keep exploring and trying out new things. Some of the most interesting 50 year old’s *still* don’t know what they want to do. But they are enjoying the hell out of life while looking for it.

    Play. Photograph. Write. Compose. Sculpt. Build. Play with math. Program. Run. Kayak. Hike. Skateboard. Find that one thing that fills your heart with fire so badly that it feels like if you can’t do it, you’ll die.

    It might not happen till you are 16. Or 26. Or 38. The amazing thing about life is that some times you just *bump* into it while walking down the street. Or buying a coffee. Or at the library.

    That puppet video I made when I was 15? The love I have for that stayed in me. When I met the right person who celebrated who I was and the things I love, like puppets and photography, I used puppets to propose to her. And she said yes not only because she loved me, but because she loved, cherished and celebrated my unique way of needing to create and express things.

    Your road map will take you all over. Don’t rush it. You will find it at your own pace, and when you do find it, let it wash over you like the ocean. Love it so deeply it burns your heart.

    You’ll find it. Hang in there. We are all on this adventure together.


  41. Francois

    I am a little monster and of course I would like to read more articles from you 🙂
    We (the little monsters )like music, photography, video, food, zack arias, lady gaga, art,fashion,instagram,etc
    Ciao *****

  42. Francois


  43. Moritz Schulz

    Hi Caleb,
    I enjoyed reading your post and – getting in line – I think I know what you’re talking about. I’m 16 years old, about to begin my final year at, say, the German equivalent of a highschool and choosing one out of many career (or rather, life) paths that I could probably somewhat succeed in and that I would absolutely enjoy committing myself to is an incredible challenge. Be it photography, journalism, literary writing, cinematography, graphic design, or something completely different – there’s always a bit of mine that absolutely loves it.
    Passively breeding over this question for some time, I found this (quite luxurious) dilemma to be quite a tremendous safety net: I have come to think of it as a way of being a little more independet from what other people and what markets expect from these job stereotypes. I am most likely to start out in journalism, but if that career path should turn out to make cheaply filling news websites with newstickers about fish pooping in the ocean and having an eye on getting ever so many twitter followers a necessity – then I can “afford” to step back and say: No, that’s not what I want to do and I am not going to pay any prize for any period of time for I may once end up partly doing what I wanted to. I can simply switch to another path I still cherish and I still am good at.
    And, regarding being fantastic: It’s fantastic being fantastic. But I’d say: Don’t overestimate it – and question, how many successful photogs are consistently fantastic and how many fantastic creative people are not at all “successful”. Just be passionate instead.

    All the very best!

  44. Tom Zimmer

    ALP (Ambitious Lazy Procrastinator), Welcome to the club. I think I started the club back in 1960 or so when I was 10 (LOL). I never got particularly good grades in school, but back then if you were a good kid, they would pass you anyway. I guess it is the same today. Anyway, you talk about being good at a lot, but not great at anything. Let me just tell you right up front, that you are wrong. You are really good at something, and probably a lot of thing, you just need to figure out what they are. When I was about 17, I built my first computer from a bag of parts purchased at an electronic supply store. I thought that was it for me, electronics was fun and exciting. Then a short time later I discovered the process of writing software, and I have never looked back. I’m still programming after about 45 years doing it. You will discover your “calling”, just give it time. Oh, and by the way, I also love photography. Unfortunately photography for me was something I was good at but not great. So remember, you can also do a lot of things you are good at too, you don’t have to be great at everything.

  45. Patrick

    Caleb – COngrats on taking charge of your education. I also wrestled with school (I was too busy learning things on my own to bother with homework and boring lectures).

    I’m a 35 year old jack-of-many trades and wrestle with procrastination as well. The best advice I got was to stop worrying about fear of success, fear of failure, or all the work it was going to take – and to just start. Constantly start. Start with the first step, then go from there.

    Also, as an introvert (not sure if this applies to you or not), my brain works differently and I have to remind people that just because I haven’t started a project doesn’t mean I’m not working on it. I’m weeding out options and am planning. Whether it’s a creative project or a business model (I work with startups as an investor) I’m pulling in data points from the outside world and assembling them internally, as to create the path to move forward.

    You mentioned that feeling of joy. It was yours, yes, but was it also joy expressed by other people – essentially, a shared joy? If so, you’ve found the motivation, it’s just up to you to learn the avenues and skills you can apply to best achieve that shared goal with the rest of your community.

    The time, money, and effort become more obvious as you start, fail, quit, and succeed.

    PS – My wife spent an afternoon with Logan LaPlante last week and had a great time feeling his energy and passion. We are investing in Ed Tech companies because of students like you and him, combined with our own frustrations. We believe education is one of the most important things an individual can have, but it’s a broken system. Keep talking about it and we’ll correct the wrongs. Good luck out there.

  46. Edward

    I’m 27 and I still have this kind of attitude and I’m trying to make the life he’s living more like mine.

    Working at a job just for money sucks.

  47. Christian

    hi Caleb,
    if you question yourself already at age 15 – you have a huge head-start.
    Joke aside. I think you could get to a point where school becomes easier for you and you might even finish with a higher degree than you think of now, just because you start setting your own goals.
    From my experience I can ensure you, you can use anything you’ve learnt along the way at some point later in your life. Even if it was frustrating back then. And especially if you are good at a lot of things, a lot of experience is a very good thing to have.
    I’m very impatient, but I’m also glad that I didn’t do some of the projects when I had the initial idea for them. Some things just need time and exploration. Henry Leutwyler (watch this https://vimeo.com/89693650 at least around the 1.35 mark, you heard it before, but it’s very true) did so many projects and books and if you dig around you’ll find how those projects “found him”. It’s very interesting.
    Also you should exchange your longboard for a shortboard skateboard. It’s much harder and will teach you some good lessons for life. 🙂 So yeah, find the balance of doing what you love, play with it, don’t settle.

  48. Joey Pasco

    Great post Caleb (and great job on the videos, too)! I know exactly how you feel. I’ve always had very diverse interests, never focused on one thing for a long period of time, but instead learned the basics of a bunch of things. While sometimes I wish I’d have *only* focused on photography and put in my “10,000 hours,” I think that would have taken a lot of the rich experiences out of my life. I’m 34 years old, and I can say that I’ve been a musician, an actor, an illustrator, a podcaster, a strategy game commentator, and more…all in addition to being a photographer. So don’t be ashamed of following your heart, even if it goes in every direction at once. You’ll be able to apply your varied experience to each subject in a way that many won’t be able to. Never stop learning.

  49. Jim Robertson

    Caleb, I laughed out loud many times during the Crop or Crap video. It was that good, really! I loved your comedic timing with edits, like holding one of your dad’s pointer shots just long enough to make the, uh, point. Hilarious! I also just wanted to say that, at 50, I still experience a lot of what you are saying. I don’t have all the answers but I can tell you that as talented as you appear to be at such a young age and as talented as both your parents are, I think you have some time, not to procrastinate, but to relax a little bit and deeply contemplate what floats your boat the most. And don’t worry if you can’t narrow it down to just one thing. I think you can still be good at many things and a master at one, or two, or three…

  50. Christian

    you got me thinking…
    Maybe being excellent at one thing (school i.e.) is a general thought of the society. It’s very helpful when you are a engineer or a race car driver and your practice one thing over and over so you get to be very consistent and achieve top results. However in the creative world you almost never produce under perfect conditions. Having knowledge of all kind of things will get you much further.

  51. Tauseef

    Well, I love it that being a young boy you know where you stand in the real world. Knowing that is the first step to understanding where to go next. And btw I saw the Crop vs Crap video and it was great work.
    “From confusion comes wisdom.” – Some guy I met at a conference who happened to be director at some big ass company.

    So hey it’s good to be confused, and it’s awesome to find the answers. You create awesome things and that brings you joy, there is nothing better than to be able to create things.


  52. Jon M


    Kudos for being confident enough to put your strengths and weaknesses out there. You write very well and obviously have a lot of other skills, so be confident. Here are some practical ideas for keeping yourself engaged while working in your areas of interest:

    – Pick a different genre of film each week, or a famous director or cinematographer, and shoot something in that style. For example, genres such as spaghetti westerns, horror movies, old music videos, or action films would be different. Or directors such as Wes Anderson, Alfred Hitchcock, or Sergio Leone. If you set up regular screenings for your friends from school, you’ll build a deadline into the process and have another reason to see your friends.

    – Get a copy of Special Effects: The History and Technique by Richard Rickett, or a similar book, and learn how to shoot old-school, in-camera optical effects like they used before CGI. Try to learn one technique a day for a week, or one technique a week for a month, etc..

    – You have camera and editing skills, so supplement them by learning how to right a screenplay in the proper format. It doesn’t have to be long. Learn the format and then take a scene from a movie that you like and turn it into a few pages of screenplay.

    – Start with the early 1900s and watch one classic film a week from a different decade until you get to the present. Blog about each film and how film making changed each decade.

    Good luck!

  53. Bernardo Arce


    You have no idea how much your feelings, ideas, and life resembles mine.
    I went through all those phases of realising I hated school, watching all those videos, facing the decision to step out of the ordinary, being in love with lots of things instead of just the one, having great ideas but not being able to get off my butt and do STUFF…
    I went through it all at 20, so I find it amazing you’ve realised all of this at 15. I’m 25 right now and I have no regret till now. But after 5 years I have the exact same questions you have.
    I won’t be able to give you any specific advice, however I find the general “tip” is to just take the first step, and get stuff done, just like you did with this post, I already see you must be getting blast with so many comment to your post. You’ve got a great example at home, “Dad”. Huge inspiration for me.

    Sincerely, Bernardo, A Mexican ambitious lazy procrastinator.

  54. Luis A Torres-Salomao

    I think you should always do what you love and find balance in life. I, like you, like lots of things and very diverse.

    It is not right for you to say you are not fantastic at any of the things you do. You may have inclinations towards many things, but what makes you awesome at one is the effort you put into it, and fantastic-ness eventually comes. So I guess you need to choose one inclination to pursue with most of your energy and keep the others as something you enjoy.

    Let me tell you my case so you can relate. I am 28, happily married, Mexican-Brazilian and living in the UK studying a PhD. When I was to decide what to study at University I was not sure if to go towards Arts or Engineering. At the end I chose Engineering because it is easier to make a living in that field and because I really like research. Science is my main career and I am doing well. On the other side, I’ve always liked art and would have loved to be a painter. I was really good at it, but it takes a lifetime to make a name in that field. So, my balance is photography and travel. I get to travel from Science because I get to go to Conferences in many places, thus, I get to take photos everywhere I go. It is something I really enjoy doing and gives me that emotion only painting used to give me in the old days. I guess that if I had chosen Art as a career I would be happy too, and would have found balance by reading about Science or something to quench my thirst for knowledge.

    I say to you: choose one thing by putting in perspective other stuff you like and put your effort into it. Eventually you will become fantastic at it. Keep all the other stuff with you, because that is what makes you YOU! Perhaps you can find something that combines all of them.

    By the way, I really like you videos at Dedpxl. You are fantastic at it.

  55. Dave

    If I was homeschooling you, one of your first assignments would be to read “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, then make a video based on it. Heck, I’ll buy you a copy if you like. Or check it out of your local library.

  56. Jay Rodriguez

    Hey Caleb,
    Take you steps one foot after another. Take it slow and eventually your calling will come. Learn from your dad’s small steps. A couple of years ago he published a video on Kelby’ blog and to my opinion I feel that it was one of the most inspiring videos I’ve seen. Your dad (Zack) had nothing to put on the table for the moment, then he just figured let me bet it all on black, and you know what Little bro, thats when the hard working people of this industry all said thank you to your dad. Zack made us all connect with that 1 video he gave Kelby to publish.
    My point to this is that no matter how long it takes you to figure it out, dont stop. Your dad didn’t, and it took him a long time to figure it out.
    Keep pushing forward Caleb, your mom and dad are awesome inspiration and supporters!

  57. Heikki

    Oh man. I was like you way back when. All I can say is, be greatful for what you have. And do anything that makes you happy. You are at an age, where you are actually not supposed to have anything figured out. Just follow the things you enjoy. At some point, one is going to overtake the other. Just have fun!

  58. Dawn

    “I want what ever I do in life to give me that kind of joy. I feel like everyone deserves that kind of joy in their lives”
    Caleb it took me 50 years to realise that, you are amazing to get it at 15. Just know that there will be flat days and gobsmackingly brilliant days. Keep doing what you are doing and I’m sure that more joy and more success will come.

  59. John Gibson

    Hey Caleb:

    Great piece, and an important question . . for everyone.

    I can’t tell you how to motivate yourself, because we may be motivated by different things. I can tell you what works for me (sometimes) and maybe that’ll get you thinking about things you can do to start your engine.

    You mentioned something about yourself that I find motivates me. Its that great feeling you get when you’ve worked hard on a project and you’re happy with the results. Looking at those projects again can be a motivator. You’ll remember the work you put in, but you’ll also remember your satisfaction with the result and perhaps recognition that can come along as well.

    For me, looking hard at what other photographers do is a big motivator. The work that’s easily found laying around these days can really make you want to ‘do something like that’ or it might just give you ideas to get you started.

    Motivation comes easier with momentum. I mean that once you’ve found motivation enough to get you started, its your work: making it better, solving problems, following tangents, showing it to people for feedback, all of that – that builds momentum. When that’s happening your work (not the older stuff, the new stuff now) is your motivator.

    Motivation is a transient thing. Some days you just don’t need it. You’re already ready. You want to do something. Other days, not so much.

    I’m looking forward to your next piece. Happy shooting, editing, boarding etc.



  60. Tyler

    Dear Caleb,

    I thoroughly enjoyed the editing in Crop vs. Crap. BEAUTIFUL work!

    You’ve got the right attitude towards a difficult education and career. I’ve been homeschooled since preschool and am now 20 years old, turning down college attempting to make my way as a photographer. Or museum educator. Or railroader. I’m doing all three things and enjoying them all.

    I’m only a little further along this crazy journey than you are, so I don’t have much wisdom to impart. But if there’s anything I can tell you, it’s this:

    Don’t try to Figure It Out.

    Try something. Do something. Make something.

    You will never find The Thing that you instantly know you should do for the Rest Of Your Life. You’ll just try things, fail, succeed, fail some more, and then look back and say “Hey, look, I went somewhere. I did cool things, and had fun.” Then you go on to the next thing.

    I just read a really fantastic book by a young author (also 20, I think) called Don’t Make Art, Just Make Something” and highly recommend it for you. It’s a quick read — took me about half an hour, but I’ll be coming back to it whenever I need inspiration.

    Keep up the good work. And let me know if you have any luck getting rid of the Lazy Procrastinator part of your title, I could use some help with that myself. 🙂


    PS: If your parents ever have doubts about homeschooled kids “making it” in the real world, tell them to call me…both my brother and I did just fine, and he’s now in college doing really well while I’m crazy and attempting to be a photographer!

  61. Jack Sturm


    Are you the boy that starts a project knowing you’ll eventually get to a finish line or are you the boy that needs to get his arms around everything before he starts a project?

    You can call the ocean anything you want but when you step in it you will always get wet.

    My son I’m guessing you’re a good swimmer. You certainly were raised right.
    Trust your instincts.

  62. Rahim

    Caleb a/k/a – lil Homie… Dude you’re off to a great start. I can feel the zeal you have for this phase of your life. Wide open road and all you need is a destination. I hope your realize how much faith and trust your pops has bestowed in you. So in answer of your questions:

    1. Honor that trust. It can be taken back unfortunately. If I were in your shoes I would choose a fun side project that would challenge my skill set. Specifically, challenge in terms of enough that you can grow and not be overwhelmed and want to quit.

    2. Ask your dad or go out and find some mentors in the field you choose to focus on. Adult will gobble up your story. (I would) “Im 15, homeschool, interested in refining my talent in X,Y,Z and you inspire me. Could you be my mentor?” (Insert melting heart) When you challenge yourself, you naturally develop questions. 15 year olds don’t ask enough questions no understand the value they open up. There is a way to get to the other side of a frustration. Ask a question. Also from a mentor, ask for critique. Don’t mistake a critique with criticism. One is perceived as constructive and the other breaks you down. Be open to someone talented in your field of interest offer you insights. Then ask why they feel that way. The most powerful thing in the world is a question.

    3. Responsibility and Self Control. In this homeschool scenario things are going to change. The biggest change is going to come in how you approach your work. I am an entrepreneur and I have to take responsibility to get my work done. Any when I finish the bed and couch sometimes call me. It take self control and an understanding of what i am trying to accomplish that makes continue to build my proficiency in my craft. Good habits breed good results. If you’re in a creative funk do something unrelated and creative. It’s a great kickstart. Go over your previous work or find someone you admire on the web and go through their stuff and then when you are feeling excited dive back in.

    4. You mentioned you are good in a bunch of areas. Not great in any one. Well I challenge you to be exceptional. The root word behind exceptional is exception. That means out of many only one stands out. Average, mediocre aren’t enough out here in the world. You have to have a talent that makes you stand out above the crowd. This is what should motivate you. Best your age. Best in the city. Best in the USA. Best in the World. And when you reach the state of exceptionality then you will understand your field of endeavor like as if it were an old friend you’ve known your whole life. You’ll know how it responds and will act in any situation.

    5. To end this, I will share with you what gives me motivation. LOVE. I absolutely love being creative. I have friends my age who complain and hate their jobs and are miserable. Not me. I get to be creative. My life is like a never ending Art Class and PE class. People pay me to have fun. I love what I do and there is never a day that goes by that I forget it. I shoot, I design, I write and I am able to tell my clients amazing stories with my creative voice. I am motivated because tomorrow I have absolutely no idea what life has in store for me that I haven’t tried yet.

    Stay foolish. Stay curious. Stay Youthful. Stay Enthusiastic. Your doing great. You have some cool things in your future…continue down the path….


  63. R

    Hey man, I know this is more than a month late, but I just read this post and can relate to it. Im 26, I quit my job as lawyer, 6 months after getting hired so that I could do what i love, that is take photos. Im not good at it, but im trying everyday to learn something new. To be honest, Iv been lazy, but im trying to change that. Whenever I get an idea, i try to execute it within 20 ot 30 hours. It’s gotten me to produce new work and try new things.

    I still feel that im too lazy most days, but having a timeline helps, and forces you to work.

  64. johannes

    Hey Caleb,

    i just stumbled upon this post after I watched the crap vs crop video and was amazed to read, that you actually shot and edited the video.

    I watched it several times, not because of the content, but because how it is made. The rhythm, the feel, the esprit is just amazingly good. Even though the video has no music, watching it feels like listening to music. Everything fits perfectly together like a musical composition.

    So I don’t know, if you are that good in all your other interests. But in making videos you seem to be very very good. You certainly have a huge talent here.

    In case you don’t know on which interest you should focus, I personally and probably many others would be glad to see from time to time a video made by you with this magical feel.

    Concerning your creativity problems, I can’t help, I guess. Even though I did a lot of different arts in my youth, I’m a scientist now, but a scientist about the aesthetics of design. So even though, what I’m doing is not art, the subject remains art 😉

    keep doing those awesome videos and all the best for the future!

  65. Nik.C

    Caleb, don’t dispair, carry on living, getting life experience, don’t pressure yourself into focussing on one path, you have a fantastic foundation to build from.
    Today, it is better to be multi-faceted, than be master of one art, all creative media feed into each other.
    I’m 45, and still learning, still being creative, there’s no deadline!
    I may sound old to you, but i have a 15 year old inside who still wears punk rock t-shirts, listens to loud angry music, and draws stupid doodles on his sketchbook!
    Just keep on doing, what you’re doing.
    Oh, and whenever I get designers block, I go for a walk, or ride my bike, or swim, the ideas then will come when I least expect it, in a “flux capacitor” moment ! ( back to the future ref)

  66. Ken Arnold

    Hey Caleb, thank you for the article! It’s not often I read something with such relatable honesty, especially from someone your age. I’m 25 and a photographer and to this day I suffer from the samething. I’ve only been doing it full time for about 2 1/2 years. Every time I do something that I’m really happy about whether it would be accomplishing a social or creative goal or even a sleep schedule goal. I learn something every time, how did I just accomplish that? Wow I really did it. All I did was I got on my feet, got my camera bags and went on my way. If I wait too long then I give time for my head to come up with stupid scenarios about what if the traffic sucks, the drive there is too long, I don’t have anyone with me. So if you want to accomplish something just do it. I’m working on this myself. We all do it, especially comparing ourselfs. Don’t compare. I’ll be happy to read your future blogs and see what your future holds. Thanks for the inspiration!

  67. James

    I have, in a sense followed your path of being interested in everything. When I was in high school I was always clever enough and smart enough to be good at everything I tried. I suspect this is also true of you. Sometime around 11th grade I got some advice – one bit from a professional musician (I was doing a concert with the orchestra in town). After rehearsal he said:
    “You’re pretty good at this and could make a career out of it. But. But. But, how much do you think about music when you’re not practicing? Don’t lie to me or yourself.”
    The next day my chemistry teacher told me I was good enough to go for a phd if I would be able to spend eight years studying- knowing that it would define my life.
    The next day my karate teacher said, “You’ve earned a black belt, but why are you here? What will keep you here in six months or a year? Will it be because you are afraid of giving up a few years by abandoning karate compared to the fear of starting from zero in something you *might* like more?”
    These are a few questions I still don’t know how to answer. The difficult thing might not be finding something you like- it could be understanding how you enjoy it best: as a hobby, a career or as a passing fad.

  68. Chip Quinn

    I try the two=step method for getting out ofa funk. I immerse myself in some completely different activity –old-time poetry old-time music ature work for me (seriously old-time, eg. Shakespeare, Bach) this gets me halfway there — changes my mind-set. The other half, afterward is to re-discipline yourself to have a fresh crack at whatever it was you were avoiding.

  69. Christian

    Hi Caleb!

    Congratulations as you are probably 20 years ahead of the crowd in thinking and it is courageous to speak out like you do. We live in a world where intuition and emotions do not count much. A world in which we worship the servant (rational thinking) and do not listen to the master (intuition) as Einstein put it.
    However, there is one thing I would like to draw your attention to. From my perspective it is a common misunderstanding that motivation needs to be there in the first place to get things done and find your spot in the world. Motivation is a very unreliable partner: sometimes it is there and sometimes not. The worst thing: mostly the better you get at things the more motivation steps into the background and diminishes. This does not mean that you are less content and fulfilled from what you do. Secondly, that feeling to finish a project might be a short “high”, but even if this was overused: it is the way that counts and not the outcome. And this way is your way. If you pay more attention to it, I bet you get more fulfilment from it… Do to make the mistake to be dependent on others applause. Instead applaud yourself for every step you make…

  70. Thiagones Pereira

    Caleb, Caleb, Caleb…

    If I could wish one thing that my parents could change, is that they have teached me to be creative.
    My both parents were born as farmers, in a farm, filds of grass and bulls and cows and chickens, and all related…
    I was raised to study, thanks God my father did it, I’m an engineer today.
    But a, but a, but a butt….. I discovery photography.
    I fell the same way… I wish I could grab a cup of coffee and say to you how luck you are. You have ALL the oportunities just in front of you. Your parents support you. You’re born to become awesome.
    I’m happy for you. Really. If one day I get this good in photography as you are in editing and making video, or only 1% of how good you dad is with the camera… My life would change forever.
    BTW, You editing in CROP OR CRAP is amazing. A-MA-ZING!
    Stay in that dude, you have a lot of road on that.
    My best wishes for you and all your familly.

  71. mandy winter

    wow Caleb! Im super impressed what an article! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  72. tony allison

    hey Caleb,

    Great post ~ thanks for sharing ~ welcome to the school of life!
    Do what makes you happy and enjoy what you do. Learn. Experience. Share.
    Enjoy 🙂

  73. Alex

    My kids get the most joy from working hard to meet challenges for which they do not come by naturally. This may not sound pleasant going into it. However, life is about finding purpose and concurring challenges. This often is NOT what we come by naturally, or easy to us. Those are things we become bored with and take for granted. Taking up a challenging that may sound unpleasant and meeting/surpassing it, has a remarkable way of giving you joy, pride and confidence in yourself to master anything. Become good as something you thought was too challenging, has a way of changing how you feel about it.

    • Alex

      Sorry about the typos.

  74. Alvin


    wow. I thought I was do only one. Thank you for this post man!

    Keep up your interests! Let’s do this things with passion 🙂

  75. BVLGARI(バッグ?財布?小物)CHLOE(バッグ?財布、小物)偽物ブランド,激安,コピー?ルイヴィトンバッグ,偽物?ルイヴィトン財布,コピーバッグ,ブランドバッグ,偽物バッグ,偽物シャネルバッグ,偽物

    BVLGARI(バッグ?財布?小物)CHLOE(バッグ?財布、小物)偽物ブランド,激安,コピー?ルイヴィトンバッグ,偽物?ルイヴィトン財布,コピーバッグ,ブランドバッグ,偽物バッグ,偽物シャネルバッグ,偽物エルメスバッグ,偽物グッチバッグ,偽物財布,コピー財布,時計の專門店 http://www.ooowatch.com/tokei/vuitton/index.html