Systems vs Goals in Street Photography

Beverly Hills

One of the most interesting concepts I’ve learned recently is the concept of “Systems” vs “Goals” from a book written by Scott Adams titled: “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.”

Basically Scott Adams says that in life we should focus on “Systems” instead of “Goals”. So what is the difference? Scott Adams defines a system as the following:

“A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run.”

“Systems” are daily routines or procedures we do everyday (which we tend to have a lot of control over). For example in the context of street photography, going out and shooting everyday is a system. Buying a street photography book once a month and studying it is a system. Meeting other street photographers in person to get feedback and critique on your work is a system. Systems are much more dependent on the process– not the final result.

“Goals” tend to be external accomplishments that we have far less control over. For example in street photography– goals include: getting 100+ likes on your photos, having your book published by a famous publisher, having a big solo exhibition at a prestigious gallery, and becoming rich and famous through your photography.

So in life and street photography– focus on systems instead of goals. Focus on the daily things that you have control over.

Systems focus on the small daily achievements you make– and the step-by-step progress you make forward. Goals tend to be focused too many on things you have no control over. Not only that, but we tend to get more disappointed by goals as they are harder to achieve.

In conclusion to gain more happiness and progress in street photography– focus on systems, not goals. Now go out and pound the pavement!

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