sapa eric kim street photography
Sapa, 2017

Dear friend,

I was walking in the streets, and I saw this slogan: “Always in Beta.”

Don’t be paralyzed by perfection

I love the concept that everything in life is a work-in-progress. We will never achieve ‘perfection’ — yet we can work towards it.

For example, when it comes to our photography, we will never create the ‘perfect’ photograph, or the ‘perfect’ photo series. Every time we click the shutter, we get a little bit better. Every time we click the shutter, we are a little more likely to make a better photo.

One of the best benefits of the internet is how fluid it is. For example, when I upload a photo series to my website portfolio, I can add images, change images, remove images, change the sequencing or ordering, or remove it all together. I know that there are certain photos of mine that I love from a few years ago (that get better with time), and certain photos I begin to resent looking at (as time goes on).

Keep moving forward

If you always see everything in life as ‘in progress’ — you will make more forward progress.

A lot of us fall victim to perfectionism. We don’t do anything, because we are fearful that it won’t be perfect. We are afraid of failure, and letting others down. Most of all, we are afraid of letting ourselves down.

Aim for perfection, but know your first attempt won’t be perfect. Even the best baseball players have to strike-out a lot, in order to hit a home run. Soccer players (even the best) often miss goals. Even the strongest olympic weightlifters often miss their target goals.

But we need to always make forward progress.

If you’re a writer, keep cranking out those ‘shitty first drafts.’

If you’re a photographer, keep taking ‘shitty photos.’

If you’re trying to become stronger, less fat, and more fit — stop eating ‘shitty food.’

What I try to do

I know for myself, I try to remove some of my vices everyday, and add to my virtues. I try to be less hypocritical each day, I try to be less envious of others, I try to be more satisfied, and more grateful.

But each day is a struggle. It is a struggle to get to work, and focus on ‘honorable industry.’ It is hard to not get tempted by power, fame, or money. It is hard to learn how to say ‘no’ to others, and to focus on yourself and your own work. It is hard to not compare yourself to others.

Start now

My biggest piece of advice is this — regardless of how bad your situation is, or how bad your timing is, start now.

There is no better time for you to start your business, your entrepreneurial pursuit, your artistic projects, or whatever— than right now. This current moment.

Because who knows, you might die in your sleep tonight. Or today you might get hit by a drunk driver. Or you might get into a car crash while texting and driving.

Treat life like it is always a work-in-progress; and you will be less discouraged if things don’t work out the way you want it to. Treat each action in your life as a mini-experiment, and learn as you go.

Always keep moving forward,
Eric

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