11th April 2012
Something that is inherent to everyone is the inability to accept total responsibility for anything, unless there’s clear and unequivocal evidence of singular guilt, we all tell a version of something that paints us in a better light than actuality, that’s why I always say to people that the two sides to any argument is the truth as the individual perceives it.
What, you may ask, has that to with photography? Possibly nothing directly, but indirectly it has a lot to do with being unable to complete exercises, skimping on planning, prevarication and all the other things that ‘prevent me’ from doing the job. Think about it; ‘I can’t do it just now because this isn’t quite the right time’, ‘So & so hasn’t worked out satisfactorily because something else went wrong, which I had no control over’. Sound familiar? Of course it does, we’ve all said similar things at some point.
So why a musing on this? Well, I saw a thread on the OCA forum which asked a similar, if more closed question, about the fact that we don’t get on and ‘do’ from fear! To some extent I can empathise with that, fear is perhaps a word that describes what takes place in our psyche, but maybe it’s the unknown that prevents us from ‘doing’, and let’s face it, most of us are more comfortable with the known to the unknown. Sure we keep telling people that ‘I’m going to do something beyond my comfort zone’, and off we go and do it, but nobody, unless they’re a complete masochist, keeps banging their head on that particular wall out of enjoyment. What then should we do about ‘getting on’ with it?
Some years ago, before android devices there were Personal Organisers, the ubiquitous Filofax, remember them from the 1980’s? Well they had a system that attempted to help with this problem and they called it ‘The Elephant Task’. Every seemingly insurmountable obstacle toward achieving your goal, no matter how large, could be reduced to a series of smaller tasks which individually could be surmounted. Although this is not an original idea, and it was laughed at by all but the strongest Filofax adherents, it does have some merit.
Many years ago I was a member of H.M. Forces and as such had to undergo some very strenuous training before combat operations and this led to a point where nearly everyone, at some point or another, wanted to give up and go home. The reason I think behind this was that each individual knew exactly how long the training was to last and by knowing what they’d already endured, and knowing it was going to get harder before the end, dwelt on that knowledge and let it get them down to the point of giving up. By only concentrating on the very next task that came up and not thinking about what lay beyond it, it somehow became easier to continue and survive.
My remedy therefore is to stop finding an excuse not to begin, break the large task into smaller ones, and then concentrate on those single tasks to the exclusion of anything else until they’re all completed.