May 25, 2015

Ogalthorpe's Family Values

Wrestling with Identity is a concept that is ubiquitous in the sea of the human condition. For some, discovery comes early and easily. For others it's a long and continual process. I'm one of those people. It's something I've struggled with for many years. Not just in the photographic field (which name do I use - my own or Ogalthorpe), but personally. Whether I'm an engineer or a photographer, logical or artistic. I suppose I'm fortunate that my feet sort of straddle the line between the hemispheres of brain and personality. 

Over the last few months I've been doing research on the subjects life plans, dating, and business/marketing. At first glance there probably doesn't seem to be much overlap between the subjects (well... except dating and marketing). But I found that most authors of each subject said that in order to be successful it was a good idea if you know who you are. Probably the most often encountered phrase was "what are your values". I'm sure many people can probably state some of their values at least on a practical level if not an intellectual one. I've never set out out to crystallize my own values. The act of doing so seems to me to be at an intellectual level slightly more abstract than I have experience living in. Basically I figured it boiled down to philosophy which is something I'm not very versed. 

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who may struggle with this concept. It seems that many people have trouble with this idea. Go on a few dating sites and count the number of times someone has written something like "it's so hard to describe myself" under the About Me section. I'm guilty of this at times. So I sat down to think about what's important to me. What are my values? After some time I came up with the following list. It's by no means exhaustive but I think it encapsulates what qualities are important to me and what I value in others. 
  1. Speak the truth. But be considerate of other people’s feelings. You don’t always have to be brutal in your honesty.
  2. Whenever possible keep your word. Shit happens. When it does, apologize. But don’t maliciously mislead others. 
  3. Be Fair, Tolerant, and Generous as often as possible. If you weren’t able, ask for a do-over. If you can’t do it over, figure out how to do it better next time
  4.  Intelligence and Reason are important. Educate yourself, be smart and don’t fall for snake oil and hocus-pocus. Take time to figure out complex problems. The answer is not in the back of the book. 
  5. Continually try to learn new things. Your brain has infinite storage. Try to fill it up. 
  6. Try to find beauty in all the places you look. Sometimes it’s hard but I know you can do it. Sometimes the beautiful thing is seeing something differently than you usually do. 
  7. Be Self-Aware. But don’t get stuck looking in the mirror. you might never leave the house. 
  8. Watch out for cognitive errors. You really don’t know what other people think unless they tell you. The world is beautifully gradated. It’s not all black and white. 
  9. Go outside and play. You can play inside too if that’s your thing. 
  10. Be connected. You’re great but there’s strength in numbers. Find your tribe in revel in what they have to share with you and be proud of what you have to share with them.
So while I'm slowly settling into the comfort of my own skin, I can hang this list on my existential wall and use it as a guide to light the way as I continue to muddle through the dark unknown of life. Whether it be personal or professional, if anyone has any question of how I want to present myself or what I'm trying to do, I present this list.

May 21, 2015

Say Anything

Say something. Say almost anything. Don't let the fear of saying the wrong thing hold you back. Saying the wrong thing is better than saying nothing. At least you were heard. And if you need consolation, take solace in the lesson of having said the wrong thing.