"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination." – John Lennon
"It's never too late to be who you could have been." – George Eliot
This post originally ran a few years ago. I'm running it again because my recent posts about going on a photo safari to Africa in a few days to shoot with Jonathan Scott, known as the Big Cat Man (because of his outstanding work on the TV series, Big Cat Diary) prompted many, "you are so lucky" emails.
Yes, I have been lucky to a degree, but we all contribute to our own luck. What's more, it's important to remember this: "The harder one works, the luckier one becomes." It a fact.
So the point of this post is that we create our own luck - and reality.
For example, I met Jonathan and his lovely wife Angie five years ago on a ship in Antarctica. We hung out. After the trip we kept in touch and became friends. Had I not kept in touch, I might be spending this Labor Day mowing the lawn.
I have two more similar "keeping-in-touch" stories.
I met a nice guy on a workshop that I was co-leading with another pro to Kenya.
We hung out and we became friends. After the trip he took me on a private workshop to Mongolia, and then to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. He has also stayed at my home, which is always fun.
After one of my Miami, Florida workshops, a participant hired me to give him a private workshop in Botswana.
Okay, on to the original post.
• • • • • •
I often write about altering the reality of a photograph – creating a new reality in Photoshop or Lightroom.
Today I'd like to do "something completely different," as they used to say on Monty Pythons Flying Circus. I'd like to share some thoughts about creating your own reality in your life . . . as far out as that may sound to some folks.
Here's an example: On one of my workshops I scheduled a sunrise shoot at Mono Lake in California. The folks who showed up (getting up at 2:45 AM) experienced the beautiful sunrise in the opening image for this post. The folks who chose to sleep in saw this:
Two different realities were created. Two different choices were made.
Before I go on, I know that we are not 100% in charge of our reality. For example, if I choose to walk outside during a storm and then get struck by lightning, my choice did not affect my reality. Or did it? If it was thundering and lightning, maybe staying inside would have been a better choice.
Again, as far out as it may sound, we are in control of our reality - our lives - to a great degree. The choices we make affect the here-and-now and our future . . . and to some degree the future of others.
Don't agree about how we affect others? Think about your parents and your kids. Your parents' decisions affect and affected you, and your decisions (actions, words, behavior) effect your kids' decisions.
If you need some reinforcement of this idea, check out Real Magic by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I read Dr. Dyer's book, among many other self-help books, and realized a long time ago that we have the opportunity to create our own reality.
Dr. Dyer suggests that if you are unhappy with your life, start living the life you want to live – and that it's possible that that life can become your reality.
My story: For 10 years (1980- 1990) I worked in an advertising agency in NYC. Shirt. Tie. Vest. Shined shoes. Train. Subway. BS. Etc.
In 1985 I decided that I wanted out. On my vacations, I played travel photographer: dressing like one and traveling to exotic locations. Each year I took more and more pictures and took more and more vacations . . . until I got fired for taking too many vacations. :-)
I created my own reality. I had enough saved, a "cush" as my account calls it, to tie me over until I started generating some income with my photography.
I wanted to write books. I sent out enough proposals to publishers that I now have 35 books. No proposal letters, no books. No time typing, no books.
I got the idea for this post after receiving this touching and sad email:
Hi Rick - You always seem so happy and to be enjoying life. My life is horrible and always has been. I'd love to be as happy-to-lucky as you are. What is your secret.?"
My response was to read Real Magic.
I also suggested that the sign of a true professional is to make a hard job look easy. Just think of an ice skater . . . or any professional photographer today. It's hard work.
If you are unhappy, change. It's up to you.
When you are through changing, you are through.
If you have a comment, please post it in the Comments section here on my blog for others to see.
If you need some inspiration, check out this guest blog post I did for my friend, Scott Kelby.
Happiness (as the Buddhist monks would say),
P.S. If you need more some inspiration, you can get it from nature. My favorite inspiration quotes are in my iPad app: