Even at my advancing age, one of life’s lessons that continually appears is the relationship between expectations and disillusionment. This life lesson is evident all around us. As photographers the most common example of this are the expectations we have of our camera equipment.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
As has been stated here many times in various articles, there is no such thing as a perfect camera. Everything photographic, just like everything else in life, comes with trade-offs. Each of us has the responsibility to understand our purchase options sufficiently to make well-informed decisions.
For example, a full frame camera will always be better in low light situations than a smaller sensor camera. This just makes logical sense. What isn’t logical is a photographer buying a small sensor camera, then complaining that they can’t shoot it at ISO-25600 all of the time and get good, clean images. Or someone who buys full frame gear, then complains that it is far too heavy for them to carry around and use effectively.
Trade-offs. We need to understand the trade-offs that are involved when we make a decision, and live our lives. And, most importantly we need to be aware that the expectations we create can be a direct cause of any disillusionment we experience in life. We can squawk all we want, but ultimately we are fully responsible for the disillusionment we feel in life.
In the spring of 2019 my wife and I had the opportunity to do an extensive self-drive photography tour of Ireland. We researched our route and created a comprehensive travel plan. Halfway through our trip I became disillusioned. I was prepared to cut the trip short and return home.
Why did I feel that way? I had set unrealistic expectations in my mind about what we would see and experience. The biggest mistake that I made was listening to the opinions of other people and using them to formulate expectations in my mind. In retrospect, we ended up having a great experience in Ireland. The key was me adjusting my unrealistic expectations, and just allowing each day to unfold without any preconceived notions. Living in the ‘now’ and savouring each of life’s moments makes disillusionment disappear.
Our journey through life isn’t one of a straight line to success and happiness. There are twists and turns along the way. The roadsides are chock-a-block full of negative people. Naysayers who will tell us that we can’t be successful. Obstacles will appear to block our way. The faith that we have in ourselves will be challenged.
None of these things matter in the slightest. The only thing that matters is whether we’re going to roll over and give up on ourselves.
Deciding to right ourselves and struggle through adversity makes us stronger. Keeping focused on what’s important in our lives gives us the energy to endure. Expectations and disillusionment need to be understood for us to grow.
Setting expectations for others, and things outside of ourselves, creates a barren existence. The world does not exist to make us happy. My wife’s role isn’t to please me… or me to please her. My children do not exist to live the lives I may imagine for them. Companies that I worked for in the past did not exist to provide me with an income and a rewarding career. Whenever we set expectations of others, we sow the seeds of our own disillusionment.
Setting expectations of others and things around us, puts us on the path of judgement. The more we judge, the less we understand, and the less we experience the joy of life.
The only expectations that truly matter in life are those that we set for ourselves. Holding ourselves fully accountable for our thoughts and actions is the foundation of a meaningful life.
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear and technology as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.
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