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Edit My Life – Please

Edit My Life – Please

Look at Dad take pictures of little Joey go down the playground slide. Wait – hasn’t he taken about 100 shots of that little boy this morning? Oh yeah – digital – our lives are digital now. Content is overwhelming: words, images, sounds. That same proud Dad uploaded this week’s most precious 150 images to the Joey’s Cute website, so all his dedicated fans can view the little darling.

Those phone photographers are in play too. The phone is now a ubiquitous capture device making no one immune from the serendipitous photographer documenting our most inelegant moments. Unedited, they’re thrown up on Flickr.com for your viewing pleasure – often for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

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Pleasure? I’m not so sure. Just like those jokes we used to forward through email as web-neophytes, they swiftly become annoying. We learned only to forward those that were extra-specially, extraordinarily hilarious. The best ones traveled the internet like a virus, but as with a healthy immune system, minor viruses are cured. Who’s going to cure the information overload virus? Who’s going to help me edit my life?

As a professional photographer, I eagerly validate the intimate relationship between quality and quantity in a healthy creative psyche. The more bad photos I take, the more apt I am to discover greatness. As my second grade teacher told me, mistakes are how we learn; True creativity is fearless. Are you afraid to be bad? Then you are destined for mediocrity, no matter how pleasant and salable it is. Albeit true, just because we can, does it mean we should increase digital bulk?

Editing is where the skill lies. Revered is the talent of knowing great when seen, and nurturing its growth to new heights. In the new digital creativity, old shackles are released only to be replaced by others. That haystack needle is buried in a mountain of digital bails. I used to push against the budgetary boundary of exposing greatness onto 40 rolls of film, but presently find myself pushing against the time limit of editing ten thousand digital frames down to the lean and mean 100.

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Editing for greatness: in an odd twist, isn’t that one of life’s goals? Editing choices of careers, reading, films, friends, business acquaintances, life partners, food, and on, and on: choose the quality and toss the swill. Digital dating can amplify the old commitment dysfunction now that choice is categorized by body preference, lifestyle, and zodiac sign. An employer who uses on-line job services finds a 6 foot high pile of resumes after a few short days. It’s the spam of life: where do we find the filter?

More than ever, the closer one gets to “on the spot” editing, the more their skills are in demand. I’ve been married twice so I’ve demonstrated, in clear fashion, that I’m not always good at editing my personal life, but I have had some luck at the point of image capture as a photographer. Even so, I’ve often been confronted professionally with editing thousands of images further reminding me to hone my skills with “on the spot” editing. Seemingly no matter how sharp my skills become, quantity compensates. More, more, more – is the mantra of the digitally enlightened.

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In theory, I’ll get so skilled that the quality – quantity intimacy will send my career into hyper-drive. I’ll find that digital equilibrium that budget seemed to control in the past. My chosen career makes me a work in progress, but what about Joey’s Dad? He seems to be an endless source of content no longer worthy of my short attention with no filter in sight. If I only had an easy edit button for the massive digital swill.

The Author, Bruce DeBoer, is a Commercial Photographer in North Carolina, USA. http://www.deboerworks.com or http://brucedeboer.typepad.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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