I was talking with a friend yesterday at the gym. She mentioned how she wants to get better at photography. She is near finishing a class on photography. She has learned much but still wants more. I suggested the PDP (Personal Development Project) idea of Praxis. As I explained to her the idea of Praxis’s PDPs, I elucidated the idea that she should start with tangible goals that she can point to. She can point to completing a class, but what has she created? What can she show others about her knowledge?
Define Reachable Goals
If she wants to truly demonstrate to herself and others that she can create great pictures, she needs to practice it. I suggested the creation a short term, easily reachable goal. Take one picture every day for a month. That’s it. When you set a simple goal like that, you let yourself know that you want to achieve more and that you have a plan to tangibly be better than you are today. You create a pressure on yourself when you know that you have no excuse to not to do that simple task every day.
Who You Become in the Process
What you will find after achieving these simple short goals, is that you begin to see yourself change. You can notice that you make progress. Many times, when you accomplish these goals, or even if you are in the process of achieving them, you will realize that the improvement you make upon yourself is more important than the goal. The courage you develop, the character that you manifest, the discipline you create- these are symptoms and byproducts of accomplishing your goals. These effects are the unseen products of your goals. These effects are rarely envisioned when talking about the results you want, but that’s the power of goals.
I told my friend that if she truly wants to become better at photography, then she must be willing to take pictures in a disciplined manner. Don’t daydream about being a great picture taker. Don’t daydream about taking amazing pictures on your vacations and at special events. Set a goal today, that for the next 30 days, you will become a more experienced photographer than you were before. Don’t aim too high or too long term. Just become better this month and have something you can point to and say “I’m better than I was 30 days ago”. You will know you are on the right track and developed a mental discipline to sustain your continued development as a photographer.