Taking it to the next level

“The advanced level is the mastery of the basics.”

Ray Mancini
[NIKON D5, Sigma 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 2000, ƒ/4, 1/200, Focal Length = 28]

So often we think that getting to the next level and doing that one more incredible thing will be what makes us more successful.

A Champion makes sure he/she eliminates ALL sources of error or potential problems. The all-time greatest Basketball Coach John Wooden would teach ALL his new recruits how to tie their shoe laces as part of their initiation because in his words “the last thing I want is to lose a point because your shoe laces come untied at the worst possible moment.”

I love teaching so much. I like to know I am helping someone else achieve their dreams. I also love teaching because it has made me better at my craft.

When you teach you have to return to the basics and when students hand in work that isn’t what it should be you re-examine what you taught. It is this process that made me realize that it is just very simple concepts done well that are the things that make someone look outstanding.

Chelle Leary [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/160]

My daughter found her passion in high school for theater. She loves all aspects of the theater. She enjoys working on sets, costumes, lighting, dancing, acting and singing.

My daughter the banshee is on the back of Caleb Jackson who plays a monster in the play “She Kills Monsters” opening March 1 at CSU’s Riverside Theatre Complex. in Columbus, GA. [NIKON Z 6, Sigma 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 4500, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 48]

When you love doing something you want to do more. My daughter has been impressing those at the school because when she works on a play and finishes something she is asking the leadership, “What else can I do?”.

My daughter is learning that just doing what you are asked to do and doing it on time is making her a standout at Columbus State University.

“Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many of my students I teach in Intro to Photojournalism are just taking this to check off a requirement for graduation.

The sad thing to me is those who are complaining the most about their grades, are often putting in the least effort.

I have a News Event Package assignment where they must cover News Event and turn in three to five photos that captures the event with captions. Now in the software I can see the time codes of the camera.

While reviewing the work I noticed that many looked like very little effort was being put into this assignment. It looked like one student had gone to a parade and just stood still and took a few photos and left.

I then pulled up the time code of the photos. The photos turned in were all taken in less than four minutes.

“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”

John Wooden

Covering a News Event usually takes about two to four hours. Once you have captured the event it usually takes no more than an hour to edit the photos and turn them in.

One student had waited to cover an event that started at 6:00 pm and the assignment was due at 8:00 pm. They didn’t have many action shots of the event taking place because it really didn’t start on time and the student had to leave early to make the deadline.

When I said it was being lazy to wait to the last minute they were upset. Now even the dictionary says lazy is “moving slowly”.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl 2018, Auburn 27 vs University of Central Florida 34 [NIKON D5, Sigma 120.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 8000, f/2.8, 1/4000, Focal Length = 300]

Do you want to get better? If so, then the best thing you can do is to revisit the basics in your job.

Here are some basics for every job that might help:

1. Never Be Late – Start on time and Close on time

“I have learned one thing. As Woody says, ‘Showing up is 80 percent of life.’ Sometimes it’s easier to hide home in bed. I’ve done both.”

Woody Allen

2. Seek knowledge, not results

“Education is not just about going to school and getting a degree. It’s about widening your knowledge and absorbing the truth about life.”

Shakuntala Devi

3. Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand, utilize, and reason with emotions. Emotionally intelligent people are able to understand not only their own emotions but those of others as well.

4. Focus on Intrinsic Motivations

Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards. In other words, the motivation to engage in a behavior arises from within the individual because it is naturally satisfying to you.

5. Don’t compare your own life to other peoples’ lives

Rather than comparing yourself with people who are “better off” than you, think about all of the people who are homeless, chronically ill, or living in poverty. This will help you appreciate what you have rather than feeling sorry for yourself. Try engaging in volunteer work to help make this more apparent. 

6. Count your blessings

No matter how much you achieve in life, you will always feel unhappy if you constantly focus on what you don’t have. Instead, devote time every day to appreciating the things you do have. Think beyond material items; appreciate your loved ones, and cherish happy memories.