Focus on Your Actions, Not the Results

eric kim street photography tokyo
Tokyo, 2016

‘A soldier’s skill is not at fault if he receives the death-blow through his armor.’ – Seneca

Dear friend,

I wanted to write you a letter emphasizing the importance of you to focus on your actions — not the results of your actions.

1. Focus on what you can control

“The wise man regards the reason for all his actions, but not the results.” – Seneca

To start off, no matter how hard you work, no matter how smart you are, no matter how skilled you are — if lady luck isn’t on your side, you won’t get your desired result or outcome.

For example, you can be born 5 feet tall, and you can work your entire life being the best basketball player possible. You can spend 10 hours a day shooting hoops, building your physical fitness, yet you might never make it to the NBA.

Similarly, you can be the most skilled photographer. You can know all the technical settings you need to know, you might have the best cameras, you might take the most beautiful photos — but if you don’t have the right connections, if the public doesn’t appreciate your style, or whatever external circumstance— you might never become famous.

2. Become indifferent to fate

This is why I believe it is better for us to focus on our actions, our effort, our hustle, rather than the results.

Disconnect yourself from the results. Because you can’t control them — especially if they’re subjected to the opinions of others.

For example, you cannot control whether you will become “famous” or not. You can’t control whether you will get a million followers on social media. You can’t control whether you will become a millionaire through your photography.

However you can control whether you always have your camera with you. You can control not looking at distracting websites, and focusing all your efforts in improving your craft. You can control investing in books, not gear. You can control connecting with other like-minded photographers, and helping them, and also receiving help.

3. Never stop hustling

Focus on the effort in life, and become indifferent to fate and the outcome. This way you can continue to grow, learn, and develop, and build your strength.

Never stop hustling,

Learn more about stoicism

Statue of Marcus Aurelius
Statue of Marcus Aurelius

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