Focus on what’s important

“Life is like a camera – just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don’t work out, take another shot” – Ziad K. Abdelnour

One of my fellow Genuent team members, Casey Landers, shared this quote with the company recently as part of our new Daily Inspirations messaging. We implemented this process to help our fellow team members as they navigated through the current COVID crisis. Our thinking was simple – sharing our favorite quotes and inspirations might produce just the right message, at the right time, for at least one member of the team. And that alone would make it worth the effort.

Little did I know the right message at the right time for at least one member of the team would be me! I have to say, when I saw this message, I was struck by how profound it was. While it is an amazing message to carry for a lifetime, it is, for many of us, the right message at JUST the right time. It puts the entirety of this COVID crisis and the challenges we all face navigating it in JUST the right perspective. And in my traditional way, I would love to share with you what I took from it.

First, I absolutely LOVE the camera metaphor. “A picture is worth a thousand words” we’ve all heard before, but the phrase couldn’t be more true. And when we all literally carry a camera phone with us at all times, we’ve learned to express the entirety of our lives with pictures. Whether its Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and now micro videos in Tiktok, cameras and their resulting pictures are the new communication medium of choice.

The thing about pictures is that when untouched, they don’t lie. They represent (and by default express) the moment as it was at that time. Some pictures express moments of sheer joy. Others express moments of profound sorrow. Some show surprise or fear. Others express the wonders of the world around us. But in the end, they are what they are – pure and simple, reflections in time – allowing us the opportunity to relive those emotions again and again.

Which brings me to the second part of this message – Focus. In photography, how and what we focus on determines the outcome of the picture. In most cases, without focus, the picture ends up a blurred mess, unable to convey the moment with the intensity and beauty it often deserves.

Life is EXACTLY like that, isn’t it? The outcome is largely determined by what we focus on. If we want to have healthy relationships (family or friends), we must focus on them. If we want a successful career, we must focus the appropriate time there as well. Where and what we focus our time and energy will often dictate the corresponding outcomes. So it stands to reason, if you want to enjoy your life, focus on the things that bring you that joy.

I also love the reference to negatives. For some of us, we remember the days that most cameras used what was called “negatives” to capture the image from which the final pictures were developed. They were called “negatives” as it was part of a process that would transpose the image into its inverse, and once developed, reproduce the original image. If you have ever looked at negative film, you know that the picture is often dark and ominous looking – a wonderful analogy for the negatives we experience in life.

And just as in film production, it is the negatives in life that allow us to develop positively. Without failure, we lack the relevance of consequences to reshape our behavior. Without the difficult moments in our life, we are unable to appreciate the profound joys that life often brings. Developing from the negatives is EXACTLY what shapes us in to who we are individually and collectively.

Which brings us full circle to our current situation. Today we find ourselves in one of those dark, inverted, NEGATIVE moments in our lives. And not just individually, but collectively. All around us we see confusion, fear, concern. We struggle with the loss of jobs, the loss of our past livelihood, and in some cases, the very loss of life of family and friends. I can’t imagine a more negative situation – certainly one that has impacted so many of us in such a profound way.

But we have a choice, don’t we? OK, I’ll admit, those choices may be limited by guidelines, regulations, economic conditions, or simply personal circumstances. But we do have a choice. We’ve always had that choice:

• Focus on what’s important
• Capture the good times
• Develop from the negatives

And if things don’t work out, take another shot

Isn’t that right, Casey?

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