Life Lesson 6: There Are Plenty Of Fish In The Sea
Do you find your blood pressure rising when you miss out on a great photo? If so, then you need to learn Zen and the Art of Landscape Photography, because there’s always another great shot waiting for you in the future.
Any landscape photographer will tell you how much it hurts to miss a shot. Maybe you got stuck in traffic and the sun set without you. Maybe you risked going to one spot and the light blew up somewhere else. When these things happen it’s like someone slowly and painfully sucking the life force out of you.
At least that’s how I used to feel. Until I learned the only real answer to losing out on an opportunity is to take a deep breath, enjoy the experience as best you can, and then move on. Because you know what I realized? If you go out looking you will ALWAYS find another sunset.
Let me tell you a story about my friend. He got married a few years ago, then went on his honeymoon in Europe and had the time of his life. When he got back to California I asked him about the trip. He told me about all the great things they saw and did, the amazing food they ate, and the lively people they met.
He also mentioned how one night, when they were just chilling in their room overlooking the Mediterranean, he and his wife saw the most beautiful sunset they’d ever seen. Me, being a photographer and somewhat of a sunset connoisseur, got pretty excited about that and told him I couldn’t wait to see the pics.
When the photos finally showed up online I hungrily dove in to them, searching for that epic sunset. Then I saw the pictures of it and well, I was a little disappointed. Not because it wasn’t a beautiful sunset; it absolutely was. But was it one of the most beautiful I’d ever seen in my life? Not by a mile.
And that’s when it hit me: I had no right to ever complain about missing out on shooting a sunset, because I’d already seen so many incredible light shows that my cup was overflowing with beauty. I mean, if I had missed a crazy sunset over Santa Cruz, I couldn’t really be upset, because I’d been fortunate enough to have already seen others. And if I had missed those I couldn’t be upset because I’d seen other amazing ones in Death Valley. And I’d seen this one in Santa Cruz:
and this one in South Africa
and this one in New Zealand,
and this one in Santa Cruz,
and this one in the high Sierra,
on and on and on and on.
I realized had a pretty good track record when it came to beautiful sunsets. And suddenly I had an epiphany: if this was the trend in my past, wouldn’t it likely be the trend in my future as well? In other words: if I kept looking for amazing sunsets, I was going to keep finding amazing sunsets. And that instead of being disappointed by the ones I’d missed, I could choose instead to be excited about the ones I’d see in the future. It was at that point that a great calm descended over me, because I knew I never again had to be upset about missing good light.
Of course this was all a metaphor for life in general, which meant that I had no right to be upset about missing any opportunity because there would always be another one down the road. I realized that opportunity only knocks once if you give up. But it knocks time and time again if you’re always there to open the door. And that you will find what you’re looking for, no matter what it is, but the key is you have to keep looking.
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