Thursday, 17 March 2011

Being positive is much more fun

I was struck this morning by how much time I spend thinking (and no doubt talking!) about the things I don't like, things that don't appeal to me, or behaviour that I find destructive or simply irritating. I realised that there is no good thing about occupying my thoughts with what dissatisfies me. I've been thinking a lot about the photography industry and the crazy diversity of the people in it and those who hope to be. Lately there's been a bit of tension on a forum that I frequent, between newbies and some of the established professionals. It's not really important what it's about, my point is that it really wound me up.

I couldn't help but think that being negative about someone else's work or life chances, or hopes of becoming a professional isn't really constructive. I understand the need for realism, but unless you get criticism from those you know and trust, and are invested in the process of you becoming better, it seems to do more harm than good.

It got me thinking about the kind of person that I am. I don't want to be someone who, on balance, isn't an encouraging person to be around. I tend to think about things a lot and perhaps that leads to a certain kind of reserve when it comes to being excited about each and every new thing. Some of the time I surprise myself at how critical I am and my lack of concern about the damage that can do to others. What I do know, is that I have been around people who are unreserved in their encouragement of those around them. They are genuine, and simply choose to highlight what is good about someone or their endeavours, however small. These are the people that inspire us to be better, whether in our characters or our work.

I am not talking about flattery here. I am talking about the solution to false modesty. That it is good to affirm people and what they do. It means having security in who you are and what you do, to not be threatened by highlighting someone else's strengths, or helping them become better. This is who I want to be.

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