Over the years I’ve wondered how much potential harm we do ourselves when we focus on ‘chasing likes’ from others around us. How important is it that people like what we create and approve of it?
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge. Photographs have been added as visual breaks.
Obviously there is a practical business consideration involved with this topic. If we’re doing a paid photo or video assignment for a client we need to do our best so our clients love what we do for them. Paid assignments by their nature are all about meeting the specific needs of individual clients. If we don’t meet those needs we’ll never build a loyal client base and our business will wither and die. Or never even get off the ground.
By ‘chasing likes’ I’m referring to living our lives focused on obtaining the approval of others. By allowing our perception of our worth to be defined by the evaluations others make of us. As children we are often consumed with garnering the approval of our parents and other authority figures, such as teachers.
Then, as teenagers, many of us rebel against authority. The funny thing is that many times we just end up ‘chasing likes’ from a different source. Rather than from our parents and teachers, we can get consumed striving to be accepted and liked by our peers. One way or another, we’re still ‘chasing likes’ from others. All we’ve done is change horses early in this ride we call life.
Often there are multiple horses ridden throughout a lifetime. Sometimes they’re the opinions of neighbours. Coworkers. Family. Friends and associates. Or, even complete strangers on social media. It could lead us to seek validation by the brand names on the clothing we wear. The make and model of car we drive. Or some other material badge.
It is easy to get caught up in how many ‘likes’ that a photograph garnered in an Instagram posting, or on some other social media platform. It is easy to enter photography contests, and willingly submit ourselves to the judgements of others. There can be feelings of accomplishment when awards are won.
Does any of this actually help make us better photographers? Or, does it limit our creativity and visual expression to what others deem to be worthy? Staying within the accepted parameters set by others is an excellent recipe for mediocrity in life.
There is a fundamental difference between accepting the accolades that we may happen to receive, and living our lives actively pursuing and yearning for them. Obsessively ‘chasing likes’ is a symptom of something bigger. It shows our emptiness. Our lack of self esteem and self worth. Our lack of confidence and trust in our own talents and inspiration.
Creating can be a life altering experience for many people. There is a feeling of deep, inner joy that comes from the act of creation. It could manifest itself as a photograph. The written word. A painting. Some pottery. A sculpture… or some other project.
When something that we create emanates from our core, it moves us. When it is not impeded by senseless comparisons with others, we are free to experiment. And, when there is no upfront monetary goal attached to it, we can follow our creative impulses wherever they may lead. When these factors align we can begin living moments of our authentic, creative selves.
Being able to lose ourselves while creating is its own reward. Surrendering to our inspiration and intuition is liberating. We become a conduit of shared human experience. In these moments of pure creation we are living as our essential selves. Even if these moments are fleeting.
It is a worthwhile exercise for each of us to examine our behaviours and the motivations that drive them. Understanding our motives for action is at the core of self discovery and personal growth.
Every morning when we rise, we are faced with a fundamental choice. Are we going to live our lives ‘chasing likes’ from others? Or, are we comfortable with who we are… and what we create? If we are… then we can follow our own unique path with a sense of wonder and adventure.
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.
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