The Truth About Screwing Up

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Picture© iQoncept

I’ve been “talking” with a lot of relatively new photographers lately. I put talking in quotes because it’s often through the Internet on an IM or in a forum, occasionally over the phone, but very rarely in person. Still, it’s a conversation and relevant.

I’m amazed at how you newbies, and even a few veterans, beat yourself up when something doesn’t work out as planned. The usual comment made will be something like, “Oh man, did I screw up!” It’s usually in reference to something that completely missed the mark, but here’s what really happened.  You took a risk and attempted to do something new. Whether it worked as good as planned is almost irrelevant.


We have all heard the forlorn refrain: “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!” 
This phrase has come to stand for the rueful reflection of an idiot, a sign of stupidity, 
but in fact we should appreciate it as a pillar of wisdom. 
Any being, any agent, who can truly say: 
“Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!” is standing on the threshold of brilliance. 
Daniel Dennett
So here’s my point with this short post this morning:

Stop beating yourself up when something doesn’t go as planned. The reality is you did something. You took a risk on something in which you believed. Take what you learned and move on and appreciate the wealth of experience you just gained.

Thomas Edison once said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 things that won’t work.” 

Give yourself a big pat on the back. Just because you tried something new, regardless of whether it was a winner or not, you just moved ahead of 75% of your competitors!

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