Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Create Your Own Reality - In Your Life

Mono Lake Sunrise. © Rick Sammon
"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination." – John Lennon

"It's never too late to be who you could have been." – George Eliot

I often write about altering the reality of a photograph – creating a new reality in Photoshop or Lightroom. I teach this on my workshops.

Today I'd like to do "something completely different," as they used to say on Monty Pythons Flying Circus. I'd like to share some thoughts about creating your own reality in your life . . .  as far out as that may sound to some folks.

Here's an example: On a recent workshop I scheduled a sunrise shoot at Mono Lake in California. The folks who showed up (getting up at 2:45 AM) experienced a beautiful sunrise and made some wonderful images. The folks who chose to sleep in saw this:

Two different realities were created. Two different choices were made.

Before I go on, I know that we are not 100% in charge of our reality. For example, if I choose to walk outside during a storm and then get struck by lightning, my choice did not affect my reality. Or did it? If it was thundering and lightning, maybe staying inside would have been a better choice.

Again, as far out as it may sound, we are in control of our reality - our lives - to a great degree. The choices we make affect the here-and-now and our future . . . and to some degree the future of others. 

Don't agree about how we affect others? Think about your parents and your kids. Your parents' decisions affect and affected you, and your decisions (actions, words, behavior) effect your kids' decisions.

If you need some reinforcement of this idea, check out Real Magic by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I read Dr. Dyer's book, among many other self-help books, and realized a long time ago that we have the opportunity to create our own reality. 

Dr. Dyer suggests that if you are unhappy with your life, start living the life you want to live – and that it's possible that that life can become your reality.

My story: For 10 years (1980- 1990) I worked in an advertising agency in NYC. Shirt. Tie. Vest. Shined shoes. Train. Subway. BS. Etc.

In 1985 I decided that I wanted out. On my vacations, I played travel photographer: dressing like one and traveling to exotic locations. Each year I took more and more pictures and took more and more vacations . . . until I got fired for taking too many vacations. :-)

I created my own reality. I had enough saved, a "cush" as my account calls it, to tie me over until I started generating some income with my photography. 

I wanted to write books. I sent out enough proposals to publishers that I now have 36 books. No proposal letters, no books. No time typing, no books.

I also have 10 apps. This did not happy magically on its own.

I got the idea for this post after receiving this touching and sad email last week:

Hi Rick
You always seem so happy and to be enjoying life! My life is horrible and always has been. I'd love to be as happy-go-lucky as you are. What is your secret?

My response was to read Real Magic.

If you are unhappy, change. It's up to you.

When you are through changing, you are through.

If you have a comment, please post it in the Comments section here on my blog for others to see.

Happiness (as the Buddhist monks would say),

P.S. If you need some inspiration, you can get it from nature. My favorite inspiration quotes are in my iPad app: Life Lessons We Can Learn From Mother Nature.


Geren W. Mortensen, Jr. said...

From the music world, another way to look at this:

If you choose not to decide,
You still have made a choice.
I will choose a path that's clear-
I will choose Free Will.

The song is Free Will, by Rush. The sentiment in the song is much the same as your post -- that your life is what you make of it.

Miki said...

My glass is usually full vs half empty, I am mobil, have my sight, hearing, body functions, family, friends, hobbies, pets etc- the listed keep me grateful and present. I give a hand up and not out, in this I keep a forward balanced momentum-and I remember to laugh and smile often. Mostly, my faith in God has to do with my very being-everything else is chocolate!
I attempt to surround myself with positive people, you are an added joy in my hobby life (watch one-learn one-teach one) your kinds to others and ability to listen and share are contagious-wicked sense of humor too.

Kevin Pepper said...

I whole heartedly agree with what you are saying in this post. A year before I met you; I too decided to start envisioning my photography future... set myself goals and strived to achieve those milestones before moving on to the next.

Then I met you, the business relationship turned into something more and you too told me to read that book... which i downloaded and am reading now... and it is changing my thought patterns.

This is awesome advice from a person that is a positive influence I choose to continue to learn from.

Glenn Euloth said...

This is an excellent point. It is definitely one of those things that is "easier said than done" as I would imagine many people, myself included to some extent, feel that changing themselves would be too difficult and disruptive to themselves and those around them.

Maybe gradual change, as your story seems to suggest, is easier to do than to do it all at once.