Another key to success in photography, business, entrepreneurship and life: focus on being a producer, not a consumer!
Consumerism culture in America
A little about myself. I am American, and I have consumerism embedded into my cultural DNA. I’m the ultimate sucker for brand name stuff, and thinking that buying certain stuff or buying a certain lifestyle will make me “happy” for the rest of my life.
But the truth is, no matter how much I indulged in my consumerist tendencies, I never felt happy or fulfilled. Consumerism was only something to fill a void I felt in my soul; and the worst part is that the more you try to fill that hole, the deeper the black hole becomes.
I struggled for a for a long time in my life to figure out how to feel happier and fulfilled and life, and I think I have the answer:
To feel happier and more fulfilled in life, produce more (make more stuff).
I realized that this was the classic notion of being “productive”, but I still find the word so inadequate. Why? In today’s society, to be “productive” simply means to answer emails quickly and efficiently, and to clean out your inbox and to-do list everyday. But to me, to be productive needs to be focused on producing meaningful things; producing meaningful photos, producing meaningful ideas, and sharing these with others.
Then I wondered, is there a state or mind, or a cultural concept that is the exact opposite of consumerism?
Then one day while walking with Cindy, I coined for myself the term “Producerism”.
The basic concept of “Producerism” is that you’re focused on producing and making stuff, whether it be visual art, poetry, music, dance, or anything. It means that you gain happiness, joy and satisfaction from the creative flow and process of making stuff. It means that you’re happiest when you’re in the zone/flow-state of creation.
Wait, so is consumerism bad?
I don’t necessarily think consumerism is a bad/evil thing. We must consume food to survive. We must consume resources to heat our homes, and shelter/sustain ourselves.
To gain knowledge and wisdom, we must consume books and ideas from the masters of the past.
However I believe that in modern society (at least in America), we consume too much and don’t produce enough! I think most people in society consume 80% of the time, and only produce 20% of the time. Consuming isn’t just food and buying stuff, we can also consume media (movies, shows, blogs, information, art). I think if we want to be happier and more fulfilled in life, we should switch it up by spending only 20% of out time-consuming, and 80% of our time producing!
Of course this works for me but won’t necessarily work for you. But I think it is a pretty powerful idea which might work for you!
Producing more is the key to success!
Just consider, if you’re trying to start your own photography company or business, the more you produce, the more value you’re going to create. And the more value you create, the more trust you’re going to build with your clients/followers, and eventually the more money you’ll be able to charge for your photographic products or services, and thus you will be able to earn more money.
So simply put, the more you produce and make stuff, the more likely you are to succeed and thrive as an entrepreneur!
Shoot more, and be happier!
Also for photography, realize the more photos you make and produce, the better!
Sometimes we get “paralysis by analysis” in photography, which means, we become paralyzed before taking a photo of a certain scene, because we overthink it. We think too much about getting the perfect framing or composition that we don’t click.
Even worse, sometimes we self-censor ourselves by not allowing ourselves to express our creative impulse of shooting a certain photo, because we tell ourselves, “Oh, that’s a cliché photo. It has already been done before.” But friend, realize: just because someone else has done something before doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to attempt it yourself!
Imagine if Steve Jobs never attempted to make another computer just because the PC existed. Imagine if Henry Ford didn’t try making a car (because horses already existed). Imagine if Apple didn’t try making the iPhone just because Microsoft already had a “smartphone”.
You have something to contribute, add, and improve on as a photographer! Realize that no two photos are exactly alike. Just because Bruce Davidson has shot subways before doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Just because Alex Webb has shot Istanbul before doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
We are entrepreneurs. We are risk-takers, and we put our soul on the line in order to empower the greater good of humanity.
Never stop producing, taking chances, and doing epic shit!
Shoot for the moon!
Fulfill your personal potential and improve your productivity 10x in my brand-new course: “Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Photography Entrepreneurship.”