A new definition of win

With another year ending, the season slowing, and just a hint of a glimmer of free time on the horizon, now seems as good a time as any for some reflection. Where have I been, where am I going? How did the year go, and what can I do better next year?

It’s certainly been a year of ups and downs, with the economy, the industry, with vintage coming to a boil, with Mason Jar Manifestos, and a growing divide between the haves and the have-nots. But there’s another divide, too. It’s the ever-evolving transition from the old economy to the new. The old guard to the new. The old marketing to the new. And the fact that we have finally hit the year where social media has officially became its own special form of interruption, as nearly all of us scream “Look at me!” And in that light, I think now is as good a time as any to re-examine our goals and priorities. Above all, I think it’s time for a new definition of win.

Winning in the new world.

Old: Winning is making lots of money.
New: Winning is finding fulfillment. Money is one possible byproduct.

Old: Winning is a life of ease.
New: Winning is a life full of work you love. Ease just means you need to find more to do.

Old: Winning is having others do it for you.
New: Winning is experiencing it yourself. Participating is more fun than watching.

Old: Winning is a sun-drenched day by the sea.
New: Winning is loving every place you go. There’s no escape from you. Enjoy yourself.

Old: Winning is looking good.
New: Winning is feeling good. Don’t worry about how anyone sees you.

Old: Winning is high clarity at high ISO.
New: Winning is strong concept at any ISO. Ideas always trump noise levels.

Old: Winning is clever picture-taking.
New: Winning is smart picture-taking. Clever obscures. Smart clarifies.

Old: Winning is a picture that looks like it’s from a magazine.
New: Winning is a picture that looks like your vision. Magazines don’t define what’s good, just what’s popular.

Old: Winning is a picture that feels professional.
New: Winning is a picture that feels personal. Push beyond just professional.

Old: Winning is amazing light.
New: Winning is light that fits the mood. Light is part of the communication.

Old: Winning is romantic.
New: Winning is connection. Romance is evidence of love, not a display of love.

Old: Winning is having better gear than everyone else.
New: Winning is having gear that makes photography fun. Enjoying the process is the first step to good pictures.

Old: Winning is having more than everyone else.
New: Winning is working with what you have. Success comes from you, not your stuff.

Old: Winning is a well-kept a secret.
New: Winning is sharing. Communities push you and help you.

Old: Winning means someone else loses.
New: Winning is shared by all. Losing makes everything worse for all of us.

Old: Winning means you’re recognized.
New: Winning means you’re satisfied. Recognition is a byproduct, unless you want to be a reality TV show.

Old: Winning means you protect yourself.
New: Winning means you care for others. Then others will care for you.

Old: Winning means you’re fully booked.
New: Winning means you have the right clients and the right relationships. Then you’ll be fully booked.

Old: Winning means your clients love your work.
New: Winning means you love your work. Have better standards than your clients, and you’ll get better clients.

Old: Winning means you’re the best.
New: Winning means there is no best. Putting yourself at the top makes you defensive about new ideas.

Old: Winning means you get what you want.
New: Winning means you’re always searching. Enjoy that you don’t have it all. No one should.

Old: Winning means you nag people a lot.
New: Winning means you offer people value. Do that, and they’ll spread your gospel.

Old: Winning is safe.
New: Winning is daring. You need to take risks to move forward.

Old: Winning means you’re winning.
New: There is no winning.

Leave a comment


  1. says

    Amen. I have been sharing this with everyone I know :)

    Really interesting how things have been changing over the last few years… gotta love where it’s going!

    • Spencer Lum says

      Yes! Changing, and changing fast! Can’t wait to see where we all land. Or maybe we never land, and it just keeps going?

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