The Gift of Impossibility (Failure is not an Option)

(There was no actual rain, it's all Photoshop, stop sending me hate mail!)

I decided to get a portrait of my ladies before they scampered off to Grandma and Grandpa B's this morning no matter what!

And that got me thinking!

Failure is not an option, whatever you call it, it's a mindset really that can make ordinary people perform extraordinary actions. In psychology it is described as follows: "Volition or will is the cognitive process by which an individual decides on and commits to a particular course of action." And over the course of my career in various situations I have felt like failure wasn't an option, but only in a few situations would the consequences have been bad enough for me to commit to prevailing at all costs.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned in volition happened to me early on working for David Ziser. A man of impenetrable will himself, I was photographing a wedding reception with Mr. Z, shooting the under appreciated "table Shots." There were well over 300 people at the wedding, all seated and eating dinner, some on the balcony of the great Hall of Mirrors in downtown Cincinnati. There were 40 tables or so 8 or 10 to a table. Since there were so many people I photographed the hard to reach places and as much else as I could so Mr. Ziser could focus on the key tables. Just as I had finished about half of the room David asked to see the camera. The result?

And I'll quote, "These are all too close, go re-do them."

Now keep in mind I've just interrupted about 180 or so people from a tasty open bar dinner among friends. Now I have to go do it again. That s@#ks! (Plus now I have to do it before they get up and go mingle. And not just the tables again, everybody has to be there!)

This my friends is where the concept of volition pops back into my mind. Well ok, Here we go camera. No choice. *sigh* I couldn't fail again, I'd look like a real jerk then, so I made up my mind to do whatever it took and be as persistent as possible to get the job finished. Jokes, charm, telling them a magazine wanted a copy after they saw the first one, apologizing profusely, whatever I had to do. It's an interesting feeling that changes (in my head, at least) when there is no impossibility. If it can't "not be," then there must be a way of doing it. If I don't have the option of saying no, all I have to think about is how I can get yes to happen. :) It can be very liberating.

(get ready for my upcoming rain tutorial)

The idea goes... if this is just a mindset then why can't you just treat more situations with a "can't fail" attitude? The Volition wiki page further goes on to say: "Volitional processes can be applied consciously, and they can be automatized as habits over time."

Wouldn't that be nice?! Habituate yourself to a Can do / failure is not an option mentality! Here's the loving portrait we ended up with today just before my lovely ladies went to visit family.

Stop thinking of excuses and think of options. Harder said than done I'm afraid, but it can be done! I'm also not saying that you should apply this strategy to all situations, clearly "Grizzly Man" didn't have it right.

Just something to think about.

(No babies were harmed in the "filming" of this. I just needed an image for effect. :)
(get ready for my upcoming rain tutorial)

No comments: