It’s that time of the year.
Back-to-back shoots. Projects left and right. Trying to get to it, barely getting through it. Gotta do more, be more, learn more, see more. How do you survive?
And why is it so hard to live a personal life, when there isn’t really any other life to have?
Of course, we all have the answer. We’ve all tasted it, held it, been there, and lived it. Somewhere, at some point, we had it, and most of us let go.
But if the task is hard, the answer is simple.
Open your heart, share your mind, and go get shit done.
No matter who you are and what you do, the world will throw more at you than you can ever handle in a million lifetimes. But that’s also a ruse and a deception, because for all the possibility, for all the money we can have and the power we can find, we all have the exact same thing.
We have as many as we have. Nothing more, and nothing less, and you either make each sliver of time worth something, or you toss it out like yesterday’s trash.
This is the world we live in.
A world of disposable moments and dispensable futures, contingent on cash, fame, and power. A world of waiting—waiting to achieve and receive and build so much capital, we can just escape and become the people we really want to be.
But waiting to check out so we can check in is nothing short of insanity.
The question isn’t what the moment will do for you. It’s what you’ll do with the moment.
Are you going to let it live? You can’t freeze dry it, and no matter how hard you fight to hold on, it will pass. But you can make it a part of you. You can learn from it, grow from it, and be more because of it, so it lives on in tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow. And that happens, when you become willing to get it done.
Some people need a thousand moments to tell a single story. Others need a single moment to tell a thousand stories.
Who do you want to be?
Whatever the case, you have the moments you have, and that’s it. They don’t become more, because you’re the leader of the free world, because you own a million dollar home, or because you’re the most popular person on Facebook.
If you can experience the joy and let yourself grow, that’s it.
When we create barriers to our happiness, like needing that car or needing that house or needing that fancy title, we make the present the slave of the future. The gift of the present isn’t what it gets you. It’s who it lets you become.
You can’t say “Once I make it through, then I can start working on me.” You will never make it through, and you should always be working on you.
We create mirages that encourage the chase.
A chase that tells us to forget the now, as we make ourselves complicit in one of the greatest tragedies of all: waiting to pass the time. I’ve seen people enter their Mondays waiting for their Fridays. I’ve seen people enter their todays for tomorrows years away.
No one has that much time to spare.
If happiness depended on wealth, almost no one would be happy. If it depended on power, it would be rarer yet. Even enlightenment can’t be a prerequisite. How many people do you know who are enlightened?
If we create contingencies for our happiness that are harder to achieve than the happiness itself, we create a cycle of need and doubt.
The trick to the courageous life is neither to horde accomplishment nor avoid adversity.
Growth needs adversity.
It’s assembling the jumble in our heads to get past the pain we feel in the face of the unknown and turn it into something that’s ours.
Which means, if we don’t commit ourselves to getting it done, even when we’re lost and in the dark, we lose another chance to check in to our own lives. We have to allow ourselves to feel the fullness of experience, whether it’s happy or sad, fun or hard.
It is so hard to live a personal life, because we fight for predictability and insist on control.
This is a society of labels and definitions, and we chase these labels like badges of honor, when these paths are nothing but recipes to let us lay claim to getting off the beaten path.
It makes no sense, because the only thing that makes a path beaten is following a recipe in the first place.
The true explorer doesn’t seek to be an explorer. The true explorer seeks to explore.
Embrace the adversity.
Immerse yourself in the joy.
The famous acting coach Stella Adler said “The young actor today tends to be little. He seeks to protect his little emotion as he sits comfortably in his little chair in his little blue jeans and stares at his little world that extends from right to left.”
It’s not protection we want. It’s not comfort we want.
You have to have courage to tune in to your own life, because it is calling, and it is waiting, and it will protect you and strengthen you, if you let it.
A better life does not create a better self, but a better self creates a better life.
We choose the better life, because we can see its shape and form, and we distrust what we cannot know. But the only path to a better self is to trust the future, to believe in the present, and to let the world be the unknown.
It’s scary as hell.
But standing out will be the byproduct and breaking barriers the result.
Great photographers may or may not have more talent than the rest of us. They may or may not have more ability. But it’s neither here nor there. You can be exactly as great as you can, and you can never know how far you can go. The heartbreaking truth is most of us start down the path, then give up before we find out.
Expand your world.
Live outside the walls, and fall into your future over and over again.
The trick about living in the moment isn’t holding on to the present. It’s swallowing it whole to fuel the hunger to be more. That’s the heart of passion, and when you live this life, all the creativity you’ve ever needed will pour out, and all the joy will pour in.
So who do you want to be?