I used to work construction for my uncle after I left college to pursue photography. I would wake up at 4:15 am and drive 45 minutes to his house near the mountains, then drive with him again another 30 minutes INTO the mountains to start the day’s work. Whether it was a commercial building at a summer camp lot or the local, residential home of a young family expecting a new child, he always told me the same thing:
“Getting out of the ground is the hardest part.”
I couldn’t agree more. We started every job with shovel, pick, and jackhammer in hand, tearing apart slabs of concrete and stripping walls of gyp-rock down to their wooden bones, hauling the rubble away wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow.
I was always surprised to see how quickly, once the demolition started and the dirt trenches were void, the walls of the new structure went up and the building was finished. It was like magic - 3 weeks to dig holes in to the ground but a week to shoot them the opposite way of gravity, 10, 20, 30 feet high in the air. A safe haven for the group of adolescent summer-campers, or a warm shelter for the young family. A safe and secure place to rest and recharge.
But these things, like anything else, came from the great effort of a infinitesimally small action - and yet, at the same time, the most important action of all:
As a collective people in 2016, we have a commitment issue - a disdain for starting anything that requires effort to finish. I’ve long been an advocate against our societal norm for instant gratification, throw-away passion, and anything that doesn’t have value lasting beyond the initial desire to undertake the action in the first place.
Take a moment, and think of the one thing you should be doing to make your life go further… to accomplish you dreams and goals and passions. What is the one thing you are avoiding in your life? It is often the thing we want to do the least that we should be doing the most - and for many of us, it’s the thing we just need to start. If something came to your mind just now, then that’s exactly the thing you need to start.
For me, that was starting this blog. I thought about it when I was back in Australia a couple months ago. I knew I needed to start creating content that I was proud of - something that could give back to the people who support what I do… something that could actually change the world around me in a positive way. It took nearly two months of me struggling against doing it to finally sit down and start it… and I’m so incredibly happy that I did, because now that I’m out of the ground, the walls are going up quickly. I’m enjoying it. Immensely.
There’s a reason why Nike’s famous slogan is so famous: because it is the exact thing that inspires people to go out and take their dreams for their own and share them with the world.
So what’s the solution for people like you and me in 2016 who have trouble just “starting?” How do we “just do it?”
I call it trigger-finger.
It’s exactly the idea of Nike’s slogan - pulling the trigger on all the things you know you need to be doing, without thinking. Just going, starting, and figuring it out as you go. If we can simply take the action of starting anything valuable in our lives, even if we don’t know where it will go or how we will accomplish it, we have already done a HUGE percentage of the effort. It’s like that cheesy quote, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That quote is so annoying but so true.
If we can just start, pull the trigger, take the first step, “just do it,” we will find that we can accomplish almost anything we set out to do - the key is, simply, setting out to do it.
So whatever the “thing” is that you need to start, this is my encouragement to start it. Blindly pull the trigger on it, even if you don’t know where it will go or how you will accomplish it. It is far better to have tried and failed then to never have tried at all… and if you’re worried about failing, go read this blog post from last week.
Get out there and go live your dreams. I’m rooting for you to start and I’m starting right beside you. As always, if you need encouragement, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now stop reading this blog and go start the thing.
Get "Fog in a Can," used in this shoot: www.atmosphereaerosol.com. Use the code TALLEY20 at checkout for a discount on your order.
A PRO-PHOTOGRAPHER'S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE:
I just launched my 2017 comprehensive Holiday Gift Guide: ALL of the gear I use as a professional photographer to create every image you see on this blog. Find it by clicking the banner below:
I'm on a mission to show that the light will always pierce through the darkness.