So, did you do it?
Did you take a moment this morning or last night to make a number of resolutions that you plan to keep in 2012? Whether alcohol induced or otherwise, did you set all sorts of future goals that you will more than likely not achieve?
This year I sat down and decided to take a retrospective approach to how I am going to deal with 2012. Yeah, looking back to make decisions and not just throw around a bunch of resolutions I am more than likely not going to follow through on anyway.
There are a lot of things that made me arrive at this juncture. During the last few weeks I have been reading the Steve Jobs biography which, apart from being a fantastic book, leaves you with a lot of food for thought. I also just finished reading the The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, a short book I read every couple of months which is a great book for anybody needing a creative kick up the butt.
On top of all of this, on Christmas morning I heard the news that a good friend suddenly passed away on Christmas eve from a heart attack. Out of nowhere a truly beautiful person was gone – forever – and no one saw it coming. Something like this, especially at this time of year when it’s all about family, friends and love kinda makes you stop and take a look at your own world.
Now I am hardly knocking on pension’s door but as you grow older you tend to start looking at your life, what you have achieved and the people who have been there for you in a different way. This is by no means the normal end of year melancholy but rather something that has been brewing for a long time and especially during the last few months of 2011 when Adele and I went through a lot of changes.
All in all 2011 was a great year for me filled with adventure, excitement and a certain degree of success but I still feel compelled to look at a way to simplify. To refocus my attention on the things that matter. To me.
Professionally and photographically I am not going to make any resolutions or set any goals. None. You see, there really is no point because from a professional point of view I am already doing all I can. If I were to try and do even more it would no doubt lead to burnout and with the year calendar I am looking at there is not going to be time for any of that. Way too many exciting things to do and try!
Photographically also – no goals. What is the point? Will it make sense to say that I want to create better images or I want to win this competition or be published in that magazine? Nope. If I set goals like that I am setting myself up for failure and just cause myself unnecessary stress because all of those goals are dependant on other people. Sure, I am going to try new things and do my best to capture wildlife and nature in a special way but, at the risk of flogging a very dead horse, it’s gonna be a journey and not the destination.
This year I am going to go out with a single approach to my photography. Enjoyment. I am going to shoot for my own enjoyment, create the best images I can and then share my work and in a modest way try and assist other photographers to improve their own photography and photographic skills. It might be close to what I have been doing for quite a while but that is my focus as I can control that part of it. And hey, I love it!
So, having said that there I did not make any resolutions there are a few things I would like to focus on more this year. I am not going to make an definite calls and say I want to loose 2.75kg or only drink one cup of coffee per day because again, that is only setting things up for a disaster as there is no way I can only do one cup of coffee per day.
The things I would like to focus on are more of a change to the way I look at things. I want to re-look some things I have tried in the past – and that got left in the wake of just focusing on work – and I want to look at a few new things as well. I would not go as far as to call it a lifestyle change but yeah, something like that. Actually, perhaps a better way of looking at it is a bunch of little themes that run through everything.
Health. Relationship. Home. Hobby. Family. Time. Books. Music. Travel. Time. Experiences. Me.
These are some of the things I am going to focus on in the New Year – in no particular order and at no specific time but I believe that by focusing on these things, even as a kind of underlying focus or theme, I will not only improve and grow as a person but also be able to offer way more when I am working and giving back to people.
I guess another way of saying it is if I can keep my focus on these things, and keep the excitement and passion for what I do then 2012 is going to get it’s ass kicked!
The above quote might have a bit of a sober undertone but man, I could not agree more – there is no reason not to follow your heart!
So to sum up my approach to 2012, and my wish for you…
Stay hungry. Stay foolish.
Until next time.
Gerry van der Walt
PS: I created the two quote blocks with a funky little iPhone app called The Amazing Type Writer. Gonna be looking at these kind of things a lot more in future blog posts and videos so watch this space. G.
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