While on assignment last week, I was wide awake one night. This is nothing new, especially since I've become an independent photographer and the stresses and pressure that come with setting things up during the early stages of this career are frequent and potent factors for sheer terror. But behind that night's restlessness wasn't anything related to the normal anxiety of resource shortages, too many frantic thoughts or even the all-too-familiar question "how will it all work out?" No, this night was not even about a bad hotel (I've slept more restfully in caves than at some of those inns.) Instead, it was excitement over the answer to a question I did not even know I had.
To some, the point of this entry might sound too obvious, from your own experiences. To others, familiar but not completely clear. To others yet, this might make no sense at all. Anyway, on that very day late last Tuesday, I realized with more clarity than ever the importance of direction. Self direction.
Though I've concluded for a long time that before aspiring to succeed independently in a creative field I had to first master the art and science of map-making, never did I come face to face with such overwhelming proof of this. In the face of deadlines, unexpected new opportunities and the realization of living a dream, the routine cloudiness of that very dream chase gave way to a thought that I wanted to share with anyone who might find it useful.
Take it for what it's worth, forget for a while about beaten paths, methodologies for success and the emulation of anything that didn't truly come from your own heart and mind. Instead, for a good jump-start in a refreshing road to the materialization of whatever you've visualised, pick one direction, one very specific and relatively quickly attainable goal (in the scale of weeks, not months), and get about the business of plotting the map and making the steps to get there one day at a time.
Self direction is a tough thing to devise and stick to, especially when one is used to partaking in an outlined program of studies, a steady employment, or something like that. But if any success is to be attained, I believe, nothing in the end will work as effectively as focusing on one thing and making it happen. It comes with a price. It comes with patience and discipline. But it's a small investment for the rewards it brings. Especially in terms of redefining the inner workings of our mind. We're creatures of habit and changing makes us sweat.
Finally, I'll share a newfound concept that has helped me overcome the natural obstacles of ridding myself of unproductive habits. Well, newfound to me. It is the simple act of accepting that we can only accomplish a few of the long list of "to do" things we might have for ourselves. So surround yourself with people, things and activities that stimulate and feed whatever habits you need to develop to replace those anchoring habits that the same people, things and activities can help you eliminate.
Cheers and all the best!