Taking the Plunge

I remember sitting in a workshop or a class and listening to the lecturer talk about comfort zones. As she talked about how we all like to stay within the boundaries of our comfort zones she drew a big circle on the chalkboard behind her and labeled it comfort. This is a spot, physical, emotional, intellectually, or socially in which we feel most comfortable with ourselves. This can be a small group of friends, a well-loved book, or a room dedicated only to you.

Then, she put a dot on the board, outside the circle. I don't recall the exact term she used for it, but I interpreted the dot to be drive or excellence. Greatness can only be achieved by reaching outside your comfort zone and moving towards points that push you forward and expand your comfort zone. I have been sitting in that comfort zone for too long.

My comfort zone is that of knowledge consumer. I love learning facts, reading, watching films and TV, and hanging out with a close circle of friends. Outside of that comfort zone is the fear of criticism and an inability for my projects to live up to the perfect version that resides in my head. This is a terrible place to leave yourself trapped. I've considered hundreds of potential projects that I believe to be within my reach, but have shelved them out of fear of people not liking them or being unable to achieve the vision I had in my head. 

I always thought I was alone in this mindset until I read  "The Art of Procrastination" by John Perry, which was based on an essay he wrote called Structured Procrastination. In one of the chapters of the book, Perry explains he, like more than a few procrastinators, put off work not just because of laziness, but because they are afraid of failing to meet the perfect ideal of the final project. Eventually the deadline looms over his head and he finds himself in a mad rush to just get something done. It's no longer about making the perfect project, it's about getting something done that's good enough. Not great, not done perfect, but perfectly done. Throughout my time in school I was the exact same way. I'd put off projects until I knew that I needed to start for fear of missing the deadline. I never read the critiques written by my professors for fear of being crushed by what they said. Instead of seeing it as encouragement to help me improve, I saw it as attacks against my abilities.

I think it's time to start using the wisdom given to me by one of my favorite TV shows growing up:

Take Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy! - Miss Frizzle, "The Magic School Bus"

It's impossible to work in the field of media if you're not ready to weather such potential outcomes, and it's time I stop worrying about the outcome and start giving back the knowledge I've consumed.

If you don't like what I have to say, then perhaps I'm not the content creator for you.

Tangled Roots on the Edge

 The roots of an old tree grip into the canyon rim

The roots of an old tree grip into the canyon rim

I was fascinated by the trees that hung to the edges of Bryce Canyon's rim. This particular specimen can be found on the rim walk between Sunrise and Sunset Points. I took photos of several trees and this one is a personal favorite.

I am quite happy with the framing of the image, but I am disappointed that I set my f-stop too low (at f/4) for subject shots and not at f/22 for this landscape photo. I plan on taking this photo with the right settings next time I visit Bryce Canyon.

The Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel at Bryce Canyon

A Hungry Fellow

My wife and I decided to visit some of the national parks in southern Utah last month. On our longest hike in the bowl of Bryce Canyon we decided to stop for lunch. As we were eating, this little guy approached us, circling around the edge of our little circle. 

At first he tried to get a peek into our backpacks, but we shooed him off. It's against park policy to feed the animals lest they become dependent on humans for food. Eventually, he decided to circle around and surprise us from behind. He slowly approached me and tried to get at the sandwich in my hand, so I stood up and turned around to watch him on the log.

He was a hopeful fellow, and I was able to take several photos with my camera as he moved along the log waiting for me to drop a scrap of food for him. Finally, he posed as above in one final plea for food. I never gave him the food he wanted, but I'm sure he's suckered a few meals out of other park visitors.