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on Jul 19, 2013 in Friday Thoughts

Where Does Wisdom Come From?

No Hawk Owl 0014
I have no doubt it’s just the quirky way my mind works, but I’ve asked this question for a long, long time. Why? Perhaps that with the answer would come many other answers, which seem to matter in life. So being on this quest, I ask lots of questions. Well, I ask questions that pertain really to just a few areas of my life since, well, I’m not sure I want some of the other answers I might find. But when it comes to critters and photography, I’m really tenacious. I want and seem to think I need those answers.

So everyday I head out with my camera on this quest for knowledge that might lead to wisdom. Now the fact I seek it from a black box that can’t talk and from critters who’s language I don’t speak in itself might lead one to rightly think, I’m nuts to start with. And that for the most part is the case which explains much from the start. Yet, I push on. And in my thirty year pursuit, what have I discovered?

Wisdom starts when we’re young, that’s time when we make so many mistakes that seemingly roll off our back. Mistakes we’d best learn from because as we get older, those same mistakes sting a whole lot more. Wisdom starts when you accept failure as part of the natural course to success. Wisdom grows with age as you look back at all of this and understand it’s part of being human and that perfection has nothing to do with wisdom. And none of this adds up to being wise!

And wisdom can be gained when we look back out our photography and see this path unfold. See, there is no perfect photo just like there is no perfect person. In the beginning we make plenty of mistakes and if we learn from them, the photo we take today is just that much better than yesterday. But it’s not perfect and more than likely, it never will be, “perfect.” Seth Godin said it well in his Polishing Perfect post: “Perfect doesn’t mean flawless. Perfect means it does exactly what I need it to do…” If you can start to not only understand this but implement it, than you have some wisdom and your photography is better than it was in the beginning. And understanding this cycle in a photographer’s life, does it bring wisdom? It brings us closer, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop asking, where does wisdom come from?