Seems a given that if you work harder, you’ll get better results. It’s the American way, the Puritanical philosophy. And while I’m not a lazy person, I can also say that I’d probably find it easy to avoid more work. It Smacks of Effort.
There are times when we want things and we know that we’ll have to put a little extra effort into achieving them. Taking final exams for school for example. Or studying to pass your drivers test and receive your driver’s license.
I was asked recently to take part in an Instagram challenge to promote snail mail and national letter writing month along with the Happy Mail Club. I felt flattered to have been asked because that meant I could be trusted to follow the rules and create quality content related to the cause.
But what it also meant was that I had to work harder than I usually do it seems, to take and make pictures that were nice enough to post in this elevated “tag everybody and you represent us” fashion. I was a little more particular and was surprised again at how difficult styling a photo is when you truly care about the outcome.
I’m thinking I’m a regular underacheiver because now I was reshooting my displays after looking at them on a bigger screen to judge the composition or the light. I deemed them to have more potential than I had captured in my first round of shots.
Sometimes you get lucky with a photo. But partly because I’m taking the majority of my pictures with a fancy phone camera, I feel the need to retouch them 9 out of 10 times. If you take them in the ideal place with the ideal light, you are likely not to have to touch them usually. But otherwise, I’ll be fiddling with those shots. And that is a minimal amount of effort compared to composing the shot in the first place.
And there’s always the shooing away of the furry four-legged beasties who want to know what the heck you are doing with all this cool stuff next to the very best view of outside in the house. It’s a given here.
The next step requires more work. Where you want to be, that next step up? That will require an extra effort, that added concentration, that time to edit, and think, and edit again. You do this to prove that it’s worth it to yourself. You’ll be proud of yourself when you complete it. And impressed that what once seemed a hassle to you, now seems like what you always needed to do.
Yes, I think we are prone to fight that mindset of faith in the work to deliver you to the next level. To take the easy road is a preset. To keep the load light, moving from thing to next thing, making “progress”. That even the changing of the gears is work in and of itself. But it’s the best work to be done. And when your heart knows what it wants, you need to back it up by exclaiming, “Well lets get to doing whatever it takes to make this happen.” I wanted to prove that I was capable of beautiful work and I proved it. I expand as I take on projects where I push my comfort zone and come out ahead. And I am happy to know what my capabilities are always.
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