This week I have two things for you: an idea (a possibility) and some of my photos from the past few days. It’s hopefully a little light mind-and-eye refreshment, with a tinge of inspiration for you on this weekday-day.
“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi
One thing that I hear a lot on my workshops is: I am terrible at……technical things / being creative / seeing interesting photo opportunities. It doesn’t really matter which of these things people talk about, but many have convinced themselves that they are sorely lacking in one particular area and they will never, ever, be good at it.
I know we all have natural tendencies to be good at particular things. I know this just by looking at my kids. My four year old daughter has my intense practicality and is already telling her dreamy mother and brother they’ve put things away in the wrong place. (She recently came into the kitchen to tell us there was a wet towel in the bathroom, because obviously that was an anomaly – so she wanted to alert the necessary authorities. Which I of course loved because she notices everything. Just like Daddy!) Contrast this with my wife who doesn’t notice things like the toilet breaking or a picture falling off the wall.
So yes – we all have natural tendencies to be good at certain things. But we should never (ever, ever) just stop with what we are naturally good at. We should push ourselves to develop new skills – because we can! And it’s good for our brain to try! It is always possible to change and develop (and science now backs us up on this – our brains have the capacity to evolve).
If you think you are bad technically – don’t give into that and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Decide that you will now be technically excellent and your brain will start to organise itself towards acquiring those technical skills.
I’ve just got back from Venice, teaching a workshop and taking photos (I love my work!) I’m still a little bit infused with that mood and spirit that is so unique to Venice: dreamy, a bit wild, full of beauty.
“But if you died and in your will you asked for your ashes to be spread gently on the Grand Canal at midnight with a full moon, everyone would know this about you – you loved and understood beauty.” William Goldman
So this is why my post this week started with the thought of possibility. Because even though Venice is so old and vulnerable, its immense past echoing through every alley, so at the mercy of the sea and its wild energies – it seems like the kind of place that you can have mad dreams about your life, inventing, creating new ideas, even recreating yourself. It must be the beauty that intoxicates (and the sunshine :))
“To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius.” Alexander Herzen
Two things about Venice surprised me – the deepness of the silence (remove the cars and if you’re used to that constant background noise, it’s like letting the air out of a balloon, as you are enveloped in silence), and the dark of the darkness (very little illumination at night and almost no nightlife).
As a child I would spend hours looking up into the sky watching for stars and trying to spot planets. My mind would go crazy imagining other worlds, other galaxies, other spaces and time. And up there was so much possibility for things beyond what we as humans could imagine. But down here on earth I am continually impressed with what we humans can imagine. What we can decide our vision to be and then go out and execute that vision. It’s stunning.
And with its turbulent history still Venice has survived through the centuries, and what a testament to the human imagination that this beautiful city exists. What is so significant about Venice is the echo of the past. Never have I been to a city where you feel so intensely the life that has been lived: the layers of time, of people, of the dramas of life, all there, waiting to be found.
“This was Venice, the flattering and suspect beauty – this city, half fairy tale and half tourist trap, in whose insalubrious air the arts once rankly and voluptuously blossomed, where composers have been inspired to lulling tones of somniferous eroticism.” Thomas Mann, Death in Venice
And so I hope to ignite a little of that feeling of possibility in you today. We don’t all need to go to Venice to experience it, the feeling of possibility exists everywhere – we just have to see it. Looking up to our wide, wide open sky at night, full of stars; the gentle lapping of the dark green water on the river in the morning; the brightness of a blue, blue sky on a summer’s afternoon. It’s all there, waiting for you.
“If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” Thomas A. Edison
I really hope you are having a wonderful week, and I hope too that you are making time to take photos. As always, I’d love to hear from you so please comment on my blog or email me by replying to this. And if you like what you read I’d love it if you shared this, or any of my posts. It makes a amazing difference to us in helping to spread the word about our blog. Thanks 🙂
Anthony & Diana