I’ve been thinking of what it means to be great, or have grandeur.
So the one fear I had about moving to Vietnam was becoming a “degenerate” expat. A degenerate expat is a foreigner who becomes a social leech and a “good for nothing.”
But then I thought, what does it mean to be a “de-generate”?
To not generate, and just be a leech in society.
Which made me wonder, what is the opposite of a de-generate?
What does it mean to “generate”?
Therefore, to be great, in my eyes, is to GENERATE or CREATE.
In Beirut, when I went in 2011 (to teach my first street photography workshop with Thomas Leuthard) it was common when I visited that the power would go out. There would be backup power generators that would provide electricity and living to the inhabitants of the city.
Generators are great. They generate power.
Which made me wonder, how can humans be generators? How can we create power? How can we specifically self-generate?
What is a human?
I think electricity generators run on gasoline, to produce energy when the infrastructure goes out.
So my idea:
A human is a self-generating entity, as long as we eat food, drink water, and receive sunlight.
What we generate or create are ideas, art, photographs, words, poetry, dance, theater, movement. The source of our creativity and ideas? Our mind.
How to feed our mind
Nobody is born knowing how to make a photo, how to write, read, or make art. This is why we are dependent on society.
But once we have the fundamentals and foundation, it is important for us to use our tools to CREATE.
For myself, I’m only “happy” when I’m creating or making stuff.
I am happy when I am creating letters, poems, photos, or anything. Creating conversations, or creating connections with strangers.
The problem: smartphones are more addictive than crack cocaine, and we are being bombarded with distractions via email, texting, social media, etc.
Happiness in my eyes
We’re essentially being drugged into passiveness.
To rebel and to be happier and greater, make more.
My personal remedies to create more:
- When I want to create, turn off the phone (completely). Or leave it at home.
- Everyday uninstall one distraction, aka, uninstall one app from your phone, tablet, or laptop. To me, the fewer distractions I have, the more energy and focus I have to create.
- Aim for 80% “good enough” then hit publish. Often I fall into wanting something “perfect”, but I end up doing nothing. Better to publish than not publish, in my eyes. The more we create and publish, the more confidence we build. And the more forward momentum we have, like rolling a snowball down a hill.
What did you make today?
I don’t think we should show off what we own, but rather…we should show off what we make.
I would rather show my greatness through what I create, rather than what I own.
So rather than telling your friends, “I bought this!” You can say, “I made this!”
To be great, generate!
Share the photos you have made that you’re proud of on ERIC KIM FORUM.