Above: Image by Gina Milicia
“Education without application is just entertainment.”
I have a confession to make: I have not eaten Nutella for 4 months. This is a record for me. I have tried to quit before but always fell off the wagon. This time was different, the last binge did it for me. I ate two (YES, TWO!) jars of Nutella in one sitting. It was bliss at the time, but I felt like garbage for the next week, and now each time I think about Nutella, I am reminded of that ‘you just ate 200x the daily allowance of Nutella’ feeling.
The pain of being a Nutella addict was now worse than the pain of not having Nutella in my life.
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” – Tony Robbins
As photographers, the ‘unknown’ or ‘discomfort’ can be experienced in many different ways. It can be frustrating and demoralising to learn new technology or skill sets. I felt stupid and incompetent because I could not grasp the most basic concepts and yet everyone around me seemed to just get it.
The best way I discovered to placate this feeling was to immerse myself in education but never actually apply any of the things I had learned. But then, of course, my skills didn’t grow.
“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.” – Herbert Spencer
In my experience, the best way to learn a new skill has been to read, listen, take action and let go of the final result.
“Perfectionism leads to procrastination leads to paralysis.”
Take one small step toward your goal, and don’t be afraid to suck!
My favourite story about personal growth is the evolution of the caterpillar.
There is a moment in every caterpillar’s life where it must follow its inner voice and retreat to a cocoon. This precious time spent away from all outside influence is used to reflect and grow.
A cocoon is a beautiful place, but eventually, the caterpillar will outgrow this space and decide between the pain of staying in a cramped and uncomfortable environment or the pain of breaking through the cocoon to a world of uncertainty.
When the brave caterpillar finally takes a leap of faith and breaks through it is transformed into a beautiful butterfly.
Many of us spend our lives living in the discomfort of our comfort zones, afraid to take risks.
“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”
Learning a new skill is difficult, frustrating. Failing sucks but not as much as never knowing what you are capable of.
You may believe you are destined to live as a caterpillar, but you have everything you need to become a beautiful butterfly.
So what kind of photographer will you be in 2021?