Look Beyond Photography: Episode 6 “You’re A Quitter”

Let’s face it, you’re a quitter.  The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can move on.

I know it sounds harsh, but it’s true.  It’s just part of who we are.  At some point in life, everyone quits something…either because it is too difficult, the timing is not right, they don’t have the resources needed, just because they don’t enjoy it, and sometimes because it’s something bad for them to continue.  It could be learning to play an instrument, learning a new language, playing a sport, smoking, drugs and alcohol, the list goes on.  All things that we may quit for totally different reasons.  The question you should be asking yourself is not “Am I a quitter?”, but rather “What will it take for me to quit?”  You see, we all have a breaking point.  It’s so easy to look around at others that we think are successful in one way or another and place them on a pedestal.  The problem with doing that, however, is it places unreal expectations on them and unreal expectations on you.  It creates this world where we see those we look up to as someone that never fails and in comparison to them we begin to view ourselves as someone that just can’t succeed.  How ridiculous is that?!  To be human is to fail and at times, is to quit!

Stephen Thomas - Album Artwork, Joshua Hanna Photography
Stephen Thomas – Album Artwork, Joshua Hanna Photography

I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with quitting, but there are some considerations we need to make.  Every person is different.  Each with different strengths, different weaknesses, different vices, and different views.  As a people, we have so much trouble understanding other people that are different from us.  Take dieting and exercise for instance.  Some people have a weakness for food which makes dieting and exercise very mentally and physically difficult.  Others do not share this weakness and are able to dedicate much of their life to diet and exercise.  It’s very easy for each group to judge the other because neither understands what it’s like to be in the other’s shoes.  The truth is, they are just fundamentally different and one will never understand the other.  They simply do not function the same, yet each group expects the other to think more like them.

We have to approach our photography and business knowing that we are not just like everyone else.  What makes one photographer successful may not be what makes you successful.  …and sometimes, we need to quit forcing ourselves into a box in an attempt to dictate our success.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to look at those more successful than us for guidance and inspiration, but I have seen so many people quit photography because they couldn’t find a way to shoot or operate like their mentors or “photographic idols”.  Others quit photography because they come to a startling realization that it really is hard work!  We have to understand that when it comes to quitting, there is a world of difference between “giving up” and “giving in”.  “Giving up” simply involves throwing your hands up and saying “I can’t do this anymore”.  We stop shy of success and feel like there’s no hope in pushing on.  The road has just become too difficult to travel and we’ve lost our direction.  “Giving in” means that we quit doing those things that are too difficult to continue and give in to the tide.  It means we begin to move with the ebb and flow of life’s direction.

Stephen Thomas - Album Artwork, Joshua Hanna Photography
Stephen Thomas – Album Artwork, Joshua Hanna Photography

I can’t stress this enough; there are times for both, giving up and giving in!  Both can be good or bad depending on the circumstances.  Sometimes we have to give up in order to move forward.  We all have at least one thing in our photography or business that we have tried and tried to do, but continue to fail.  Sometimes, we put so much effort into that one thing that the rest of our work begins to suffer.  Only you can pinpoint what that “thing” is…but trust me, think about it for a minute and you will know it!  When you realize what it is, ask yourself “Is this something I should quit?”  If it’s affecting your business, affecting your family, or affecting your faith in a negative way…then stop doing it!  If it just doesn’t work and you could be spending much more of your time dedicated to a more profitable goal (spiritually, mentally, or financially)…then stop doing it!  It’s okay to quit when success in one area results in failure for several other areas.  It is not okay to quit and give up, however, just because something is difficult and takes time and patience.  It’s in these times that we need remind ourselves that pushing on is for the greater good.  There will be a reward if we are diligent and determined!

Sometimes, we need to simply give in to life’s movement.  There have been so many times in my life where my goals and God’s goals for me did not align.  It felt like trying to swim against the rapids until I realized, by giving in to His will I was able to swim further and faster than I had originally imagined.  It’s times like these that we need to quit fighting against the direction we’re meant to go.  Success is so much richer when it is spiritually and mentally fulfilling.  We need to consider however, that giving in is sometimes just taking the easy way out.  When we’re afraid to push against popular trends or when someone we admire tells us that we’ll never be the photographer we want to be or that our goals are impossible, we have a tendency to want to give in.  Be strong in these times!  It’s up to you to find your path in this world, and only you!  Don’t give in just because it’s easy.  Push on and find ways to stay motivated.  Being unique means embracing what makes you different, even when it doesn’t make sense to everyone else…and more often than not, in these time, this does mean having to swim against the current!

Take some time to reflect today.  What are some bad things in your life that quitting would allow for life to be better?  What are the difficult things in your life that you want to quit, but with a little perseverance will lead to great success?  Choose your battles.  Know that being a quitter is not a bad thing…but it’s knowing when and what to quit that determines your outcome!

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