Chapter 5 of the #leesixtyfive project is finally here.
I say finally because it’s been two months since the last one. For a project that is supposed to have monthly updates, that’s pretty late.
But the important thing is that it’s here at all, and that the 365 project continues to its planned end rather than being abandoned halfway through.
So, what caused the delay? And what have I learned from the last two months of relative inaction?
Well, let me tell you.
Habits will make or break your creativity
When I started this 365 photography project, the idea of getting out every day with my camera seemed a very tall order.
The idea of sitting back a year later after doing so and being proud of the results sounded wonderful, but there was a time in the beginning when it felt almost like a chore.
This was around a couple of weeks in, right after the initial excitement had worn off but I still had to go out – again – to make another photograph that was really just 1/365th of the total project.
And then, at some point, it all became normal. Yes, I had to go out and make a photograph, but it didn’t feel like I had to anymore. It was just something I did every day.
I didn’t realise at the time, but it had become a habit. And because it had become normal, it had also become easier.
That continued until it didn’t. Until something(s) caused me to drop off.
Summer turned to autumn and winter, with their worse light and colder days. Work and home life both got busier. Christmas came and went, the days got even colder, and Chinese New Year was soon upon us.
Not going out with my camera had again become normal. More than that, it had become the habit.
But if this project is going to get completed, I need really to get back towards that first, more productive one.
If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind
When we’re talking about making progress in something, is there such a thing as standing still?
Take this 365 project as an example. The photographs I’ve made so far cannot be taken away. Whatever number I’m on, I won’t regress from.
But the way it’s set up – to be on average one photograph per day for a year – means that any day with no progress is another day where I fall behind the schedule.
So is that true of whatever you’re trying to achieve too? It may not be a photography project, and it doesn’t have to be time that you’re competing with.
If you’re trying to get good at something, there’s a fair chance someone else is too.
Any day you spend not trying to improve is a day where they might be. And if they are, you’re not just standing still in your own progress; you’re falling behind theirs.
At this point, I don’t know many days I’m behind in the #leesixtyfive project, but I do know this, as espoused by Peter Drucker: what gets measured gets improved.
So, before the next update, I’m going to find out.
Please do not quit at 40%
Ultra-endurance athlete and Navy SEAL David Goggins says most people quit at 40%.
Whether this is true or not, I couldn’t say. But then, I am not and never will be an ultra-endurance athlete or Navy SEAL, so I’ll not argue it.
Not when I can use it as motivation to keep going with this 365 project instead.
40% of 365 is 146. This update is presenting photographs 121 – 150, which means we’re past that 40% mark. And I didn’t quit.
The next update will take the #leesixtyfive project to photograph 180, which is very, very close to 50%.
I could visualise every photograph in the first half of this project being me walking step-by-step towards that milestone. Every photograph afterwards will be me bringing it home. That can only happen if we don’t quit at 40%.
Again, your own project may not be a photographic one. But whatever it is, if you feel like quitting, remember the 40% rule.
You might just have 60% still in the tank.
That photograph there, called road to the pagoda, was number 146.
It got a decent number of likes, for me. But that’s not really a metric I care too much about. What’s more important than likes on 1 photograph is having 365 photographs.
If the number of likes on them drops as we go, the #leesixtyfive project will continue regardless.
Having said that, the more people who know about this, the better. Hopefully because it will inspire someone to get out and create something of their own.
So taking a second to follow me on Instagram, giving the photographs some likes if you want to (as this helps more people to see them), or sharing this in any other way you can would be hugely appreciated.
As for me, for now, I need to get out and make more photographs.
Right after I’ve figured out how far behind I am.