We have a two bedroom flat in Bandra, a nice(r) green(er) suburb in the chaotic, nightmarishly surreal dreamscape of Mumbai, a city lost in the throes of vibrant decay.... outside the window, passing underneath are rickshaw wallas, fruit sellers, vegetable hawkers, newspaper wallas and strange brightly dressed dudes that whip themselves.
I am writing estimates and concept notes for jobs that will most likely pay me more in three weeks of work than I made in a year in Vancouver. One is a 12 page fashion editorial for GQ that will shoot somewhere in North India. The other two are for large advertising companies here in the Big City.
I'm listening to music, drinking coffee and feeling a great deal of gratitude for my health, the health and happiness of the people I love most and of course, for the opportunities that seem so abundant.
I grew up with the idea that to become wealthy you really had to struggle, to work hard, late nights, work so hard that in fact all you had time to do was save money and then once you had it you had to do everything to keep it....that was how you created wealth and abundance.
I've come to realize that that attitude, and its an attitude shared by many people, is incorrect.
I don't think I've ever worked hard a single day of my photographic life. Every time I pick up my camera and realize that someone's paying me to do this, I'm filled with an awesome feeling of gratitude (and sometimes disbelief). 'Disbelief' because there are still remnants of that old way of thinking within my consciousness...that unless you're 'struggling' or 'nose to the grindstone' you're not really doing anything productive.
Now let me clarify...i say i don't believe in 'hard work' but here's what I do believe in: Excellence in the pursuit of one's craft, sustained perseverance in attaining your goals, clear vision, patience, consummate professionalism, ethical business practices, acknowledgement of one's limitations and then seeking a way to move beyond those limitations...which actually, if you don't love what you do...seems like a lot of hard work.
As I look back on my life, specifically photography, there were many moments of hardship and I know there will be many more to come. This is not a stable profession but what its forced me to do is develop an attitude of optimism, gratitude and equanimity.
Granted, I can get down when things seem impossible, but one of the key tenants of the Yogic philosophy to which I prescribe is: This too Shall Pass. Everything is impermanent and in a constant state of flux, its important not to become too attached to any one emotional state.
One of the ways to help you move through these fluctuations is to keep you goals firmly in mind.
Visualization is a key ingredient for success in any endeavor but due to the unstable nature of a photography career, its importance is heightened. It may sound like a total cliche, but you need to know exactly what you want. I call it "Paint dry visualization" Here's why:
You can think "In five years I see myself owning a house," or you can say
"In five years I see myself owning a house; its on a lake, the water on the lake is shimmering in the moonlight, I see myself standing in the house, the kitchen has heated slate flooring, a Sub Zero fridge and I'm making popcorn on a six burner stove...we just painted the walls a light tan brown and I can smell the paint dry."
The same is true for manifesting a thriving photography business.
Before I made this insane move to Bombay I sat down with myself and had a very honest heart to heart. If I was going to give up my comfortable apartment, sell my equipment, ask my fiance to move to one of the worlds most crowded and difficult cities; I had better be damn clear about what I wanted out of it.
I made a very clear picture in my mind; the magazines and agencies I would be working for, the amount of money i would be asking and the quality of life we would aspire to. I visualized large ad campaigns, magazine spreads and self funded photo documentary projects. I saw myself on set, working with models and art directors. I visualized and felt myself here already with opportunity and gratitude filling my being. I pictured myself in a flow.
We all want to be in the flow, that point in our lives where everything seems to happen with effortless ease. Being in the flow refers to a state of being where present actions and attitudes are in perfect sync with our visualizations and goals for the future. Its a state of coincidence and synchronicity brought on by creative and affirmative visualization.
So, the crux of this blog post is this: Wealth and abundance are not functions of 'hard work' but rather of Mindset. Change your Mind about your life and your life naturally follows. After thinking a certain way for a long time its hard to shift but here's a couple of things you can do:
1. Before you go to bed, write down 3 things you're grateful for.
2. Write down 3 'impossible' goals, no matter how far out they seem.
3. Write down 3 things that are on your mind that you would like to resolve immediately.
4. Take a few minutes and meditate on one of your goals, visualize that goal with crystal clear clarity. Picture these goals as already attained. Smell the paint dry.
There's a certain organizing power that happens when you get your thoughts down on paper; its like the first step in manifestation. Practice this consistently and you'll start see old negative thought patterns loosen the grip, eventually being replaced by increasingly affirmative ones.
Since I am a student of this myself and not a master, it takes me great vigilance and attention to stay positive but the reward is tangible: forward motion towards the life I want to be living; full of happiness, wonder and abundance.
we deserve no less than that.