Photography

Thinking of Giving Up? Try This Mindset Change To Keep Going

Photo by  Sydney Sims  on  Unsplash

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas A. Edison

Recently, I shared a story about how negativity is poison for your brain and some tips on how to clear it. It was a very personal story on how I had “failed” on three of my recent photography assignments and how I could only have negative thoughts as a result.

Digging myself out was not easy for me.

The failure was difficult to swallow and I was trying to come up with a multitude of ways to get out of my contract.

I was close to calling it a “failure”.

As Ray Dalio wrote in his book Principles: “You will think you have failed — but that won’t be true unless you give up”.

  • How many times have you considered failure to be an option?

  • How many times have you considered giving up?

  • How many times have you given up?

  • How did it feel?

  • Was it the right choice?

I’m in the camp that it’s okay to give up sometimes. It’s also okay to not give up. There’s no right or wrong. It’s circumstantial and personal.

The important thing is that you learn from the experience.

In which case, can you really call it a failure? Maybe it’s more of a failed experiment. And failed experiments are great.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas A. Edison

See Edison’s persistence?

10,000 ways might be a little exaggerated, but the point is there: he never gave up on the things he believed in. Now we all know him for all the great things he did for humanity.

If Thomas Edison, Ray Dalio and all the great people who achieved so much in life tell me to not give up, I won’t give up.

 

Not Giving Up

That was my mentality going into my fourth assignment at the Z.P. Urdu school.

I dug into the “why” the other assignments were failed experiments. Some of the things were out of my control, but some of the things were my fault, and I took ownership of my mistakes.

In the previous assignments, I was using the wrong settings, relying on semi-automatic modes. As a result, a lot of my shots were too blurry.

Also, I was also not being assertive enough to tell people to do things for me. I was paralysed by the fear of telling the wrong things and wasting people’s time. It was my first time directing a photoshoot after all.

I made myself a mental map of all the things I needed to do better for the next assignment.

I was pumped. I wanted to ace that next one.

I was positive and had a clear idea of how I could do better.

And I executed really well. I was so happy.

My photography really improved thanks to my past failed experiments. I wasn’t cocky in my abilities to take photos and approached the assignment with an opened mind.

 

Conclusion

If you really care about something, do yourself a favour and don’t give up on it.

Change your mentality. Don’t view failure as a negative experience, but rather a formative one. One that puts you back to reality, and shows you that there are always lessons to learn.

Life is a series of experiments, most of which will “fail”. Learn from these experiments, grow stronger, prosper.

Remember, it’s not a failure if you don’t give up.

Don’t give up on your dreams.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, clapping, and sharing! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/on-the-rise/thinking-of-giving-up-try-this-mindset-change-to-keep-going-224869cb6db4

I Love You India.

Photo for  Sundara  from the Z.P. Urdu school near Palghar

Photo for Sundara from the Z.P. Urdu school near Palghar

(But please tone down the spice level on my food ;P)

On my 6th year anniversary with my wife, I flew from Toronto to Mumbai. A mere 14-hour flight… We left at 9:10pm and landed at 9:10pm. Let me tell you, that messes a brain real good!

Definitely not our most romantic one.

We did a similar thing 2 years ago when we took a 13-hour overnight train from Xian to Ba Da Ling, close to Beijing. We were cramped in a tiny section with 4 other people sitting on a flat hard bench.

So hey, compared to that one, it’s this one wasn’t that bad!

Our Airbnb host was nice enough to let us check in late in our Andheri West apartment. We had a nice chat with her and went to bed.

We were thinking of taking it slow for a few days, but Audrey ended doing a business meeting and I ran around doing some SIM card and food shopping.

Classic Danny and Audrey.

In Search Of A Co-Working Space

When we were done with our mini-vacation, I contacted WeWork Marol for a place to work. That place looks great! Unfortunately, they were full, and they had just opened 3 months ago. I inquired about the one in Koramangala in Bangalore, because I would be staying there. Full again. And same thing, it had been opened only 3 months ago.

Obviously, I was quite disappointed since I really needed a place to work from and WeWork seemed great.

But that made me realize one thing:

The Startup scene in India, and especially in Bangalore, is incredible!

I did a quick Google Maps search after hearing the Koramangala was full, because we had booked our lodging for the month there and wanted to walk to work.

Turns out there were about 20 co-working spaces there!

We didn’t settle on one until we arrived in Bangalore later.

We currently work from WeWork EGL. It’s awesome. The people working there, and from there, are great. They make my stay there very enjoyable.

I love you India.

Nice Landscapes And Smiles

5 days after we landed in Mumbai, we went to a very small village north of Mumbai called Ashte. It’s a quiet village with really nice landscapes. It’s where I got started with my photography assignment for Sundara.

It took me at least two days to get back to it. I was quite rusty.

But this all changed 3 days after when I went to shoot at the Z.P. Urdu school near Palghar.

The kids were the most amazing in the world. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many beautiful smiles all at once.

They were genuinely happy. I don’t see that back at home. Kids in Canada are too concerned with getting toys. More toys. Always more toys. These kids played with each other and didn’t anything to have fun, smile and laugh.

It was the most fun I’ve had during a photo shoot.

I love you India.

Smily kids of the Z.P. Urdu school. Photo taken for  Sundara .

Smily kids of the Z.P. Urdu school. Photo taken for Sundara.

Brew Pubs

When we landed and arrived at our apartment in Bangalore, the first thing we did was look for a pub. We had heard Koramangala had a few.

We stumbled upon Brooks and Bonds, which had just opened recently.

It was nice!!

It had a really amazing 2-floor rooftop patio, and great pub food and beer.

The temperature in Bangalore is so nice. That pub night was one of the nicest we had in a while. That was a proper Danny-and-Audrey-style anniversary dinner!

Oh, and that was at least 3 times cheaper than Canada. So yea to that!

Yesterday we went to a place called Prost and had a delicious Red Ale and Steak. For $10 CAD. Beef is rare in India, so that was a real treat at a bargain!

I love you India.

There’s An App For That

India took Apple’s iPhone’s slogan very seriously. Especially in Bangalore. There’s an app for everything!

I haven’t cooked anything since I’m here. I’ve used Order by Zomato quite extensively, but there’s a bunch of other local apps. I have a list of 5 at least. It’s cheap, it’s good, it’s fast(ish), and there’s a lot of variety!

The PayTM app is accepted everywhere. Almost no one pays with cash. You scan the QR code and your payment is done. Simple and quick!

Ola and Uber greatly simplify transportation. I get picked up from my apartment and get dropped near my office for anywhere between $0.50 to $0.80. The return is more tricky because of traffic (which is quite insane…), but an Uber Pool costs me $0.80, door to door. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes.

Dunzo.in is something I really want to use. You have things you’d like to get done by someone else? Just pay them to do it for you for insanely cheap. It works for repairs, shipping, buying, home services, etc.

India, your use of technology is probably the best I’ve seen in the world. Your innovations never cease to amaze me.

I love you India.

Staying Long Term

Initially, I was thinking of staying about 3 months in India. I strongly considering changing my mind and staying longer.

I initially wanted to go to New York City after. I wanted a vibrant, hectic city where everything is fast-paced and everyone works hard.

And that’s what I found here in Bangalore.

Excellent startup vibe, great food, great prices, nice people, nice co-working spaces, perfect use of technology and innovation.

India, especially Bangalore, you’ve won my heart and beat NYC as the place I want to stay most currently.

So India, I love you!

Thanks for reading and sharing! :)

First published here: https://theascent.pub/i-love-you-india-582fb9fd2c96

You Don’t Fail Unless You Give Up

Photo by me for  Sundara  at Z.P. Urdu School near Palghar, India

Photo by me for Sundara at Z.P. Urdu School near Palghar, India

Recently, I shared a story about how negativity is poison for your brain and some tips on how to clear it. It was a very personal story on how I had “failed” on three of my recent photography assignments and how I could only have negative thoughts as a result.

Digging myself out was not easy for me.

The failure was difficult to swallow and I was trying to come up with a multitude of ways to get out of my contract.

I was close to calling it a “failure”.

As Ray Dalio wrote in his book Principles: “You will think you have failed — but that won’t be true unless you give up”.

How many times have you considered failure to be an option?

How many times have you considered giving up?

How many times have you given up?

How did it feel?

Was it the right choice?

I’m in the camp that it’s okay to give up sometimes. It’s also okay to not give up. There’s no right or wrong. It’s circumstantial and personal.

The important thing is that you learn from the experience.

In which case, can you really call it a failure? Maybe it’s more of a failed experiment. And failed experiments are great.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas A. Edison

See Edison’s persistence?

10,000 ways might be a little exaggerated, but the point is there: he never gave up on the things he believed in. Now we all know him for all the great things he did for humanity.

If Thomas Edison, Ray Dalio and all the great people who achieved so much in life tell me to not give up, I won’t give up.

Not Giving Up

That was my mentality going into my fourth assignment at the Z.P. Urdu school.

I dug into the “why” the other assignments were failed experiments. Some of the things were out of my control, but some of the things were my fault, and I took ownership of my mistakes.

In the previous assignments, I was using the wrong settings, relying on semi-automatic modes. As a result, a lot of my shots were too blurry.

Also, I was also not being assertive enough to tell people to do things for me. I was paralyzed by the fear of telling the wrong things and wasting people’s time. It was my first time directing a photoshoot after all.

I made myself a mental map of all the things I needed to do better for the next assignment.

I was pumped. I wanted to ace that next one.

I was positive and had a clear idea of how I could do better.

And I executed really well. I was so happy.

My photography really improved thanks to my past failed experiments. I wasn’t cocky in my abilities to take photos and approached the assignment with an opened mind.

Conclusion

If you really care about something, do yourself a favour and don’t give up on it.

Change your mentality. Don’t view failure as a negative experience, but rather a formative one. One that puts you back to reality, and shows you that there are always lessons to learn.

Life is a series of experiments, most of which will “fail”. Learn from these experiments, grow stronger, prosper.

Remember, it’s not a failure if you don’t give up.

Don’t give up on your dreams.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading and sharing! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/you-dont-fail-unless-you-give-up-2027fd755788

Negativity Is Poison For Your Brain, Clear It ASAP

I used to not really get it when people were so negative about things.

Being the positive person than I am, it was always hard for me to relate, always trying to see the positive in everything.

Yet I found myself having really negative thoughts for the past two days. I started dumbing everything I am doing.

Going Down

It started with doubting myself about my photography assignment. I have been shooting for two full days straight with minimal direction. I’m shooting for a half day today.

The reason for doubting myself is that I haven’t really taken any “real” photos for almost two years. I’m very rusty. My equipment is also all new. But most of all, I haven’t taken the time to prepare properly and understand the requirements of the assignment.

That doubt manifested itself in my first shooting session. Almost all of the 500 photos I took had to be scrapped.

My positivity took a hit.

The second session went better, but not enough to really cheer me up.

The third session, yesterday morning, went very poorly. I went in with the mindset that I wasn’t up for it. That I didn’t have what it takes to do it.

I couldn’t have been more out of my comfort zone.

I was shooting at a children school, trying to get candid shots of the children with bars of Sundara soap. I’m very bad with children. I freeze every time. I have no idea how to be silly and build their trust.

I seriously did my best, but overall, I don’t even know if I managed to get a single usable shot.

And that’s when I lost all my positivity. I was down.

Going Down Deeper

Every thought I had yesterday morning until the evening was negative.

I couldn’t help it.

My brain was just bouncing from one subject to the next, thinking of other areas it perceived as a failure.

I was sitting outside after that third session looking at the incredible scenery of the rural India village I was staying at. I was gazing upon the landscape and just wanted to cry.

But I didn’t, out of pride.

We left shortly after to go to another town two hours away. I really wanted to recharge my batteries and clear my mind. I normally fall asleep right away in transportation.

But not this time.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how I wasn’t fit to do my assignment. I wasn’t fit to write. I wasn’t fit to lead a team to build a game. I wasn’t fit for anything.

I f***ing hated having these thoughts. But turning them around seemed impossible.

I really needed a win.

Getting A Win

That my friends, was key for me.

I’m not sure I actually even got myself the true win I’m aiming for, but just realizing that I needed to focus my attention on that win cleared my mind from the negative.

Or channeled it differently at least.

I started turning to the “why” and the “how”. Why were the photos not up to the standards I needed them to be, and how can I fix that.

My brain switched to revisiting these poisonous thoughts I had, but with an analytical point of view.

I analyzed what went wrong. I brainstormed solutions. I visualized the process.

It is then that I decided to take it as a challenge. No matter how bad my next session would be, it “didn’t matter as much”. It is a learning process. I’m no expert and never pretended to be. But I had forgotten that and was way over my head.

But now I was prepared. Mentally at least. The doubt was gone. I knew I could do better.

And I think I did in my fourth session. I haven’t had time to go through all the photos, but I have a better feeling. I certainly applied the things I had learned in the last two days.

Conclusion

My confidence is not yet fully recovered, but I’m on the right track I think.

This may sound over-dramatic to some of you since this happened very recently and for a short period of time, but negativity is all new to me.

And in some ways, I’m happy I had this experience. I can finally relate and understand when people around me feel that way.

Feeling down sucks.

The more negative thoughts you have, the more you seem to have. It’s a rabbit hole that needs to be dug back up as fast as you can once you realize you’re in it.

It’s easy to say, but very hard to do. I channeled all my energy on getting myself a significant win. This changed my mindset.

Wins are very important for building up your positivity. Every small win contributes to it. It’s an effective way of digging yourself out.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading and sharing ! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/negativity-is-poison-for-your-brain-chase-it-asap-4b6705cc12ca

Story #2: Balancing work/life for nomads

Hey all!

In my first post for Power Level Studios, The life of a nomadic game developer (https://medium.com/power-level-studios/story-1-the-life-of-a-nomadic-indie-console-game-developer-5ffd373f68a8), I talked about some tips I had for saving money, making the lifestyle work in general and what to bring/leave.

It’s been 4 months since that story and I’ve got more to share!

The Gear

In the first post, I showed what my camera bag looked like: full of gadgets! Here’s the photo again:

1_mVTAMOnEVl4untEOZzcvuw.png

Well, I changed my mind on the important stuff to bring.

I left my camera, Nintendo Switch dock and controller home. While it’s important to have hobbies, like photography, I couldn’t find the time to actually do it. I ended up not using it; it was taking considerable space and adding weight. For the Nintendo Switch dock, I do miss it sometimes, but most of the time I don’t have access to a TV anyway. And again, it takes a lot of space.

So with all that gone, I switched to using a single carry-on bag to travel. It’s so much more convenient. Gadgets are in the bottom section, clothes in the middle section and the other lighter stuff are in the upper section.

Oh, and I now carry a 1080p Asus USB-C powered monitor (on the right)! It’s only 800 grams (not counting the case, which is actually heavier…)!

Oh, and I now carry a 1080p Asus USB-C powered monitor (on the right)! It’s only 800 grams (not counting the case, which is actually heavier…)!

Oh, and I now carry a 1080p Asus USB-C powered monitor (on the right)! It’s only 800 grams (not counting the case, which is actually heavier…)!

1_Ely1L9cu5VkDURf6axVH5g.jpeg

On work/life balance

So how as it been so far? Have I been productive or have I spent most of my time travelling and enjoying myself?

Well, a bit of both, to extremes.

Starting in August I stayed in Siem Reap, Cambodia, for 2 months. I was staying a AngkorHUB (http://angkorhub.com)/, an awesome co-working/co-living space. There, I was incredibly productive, working from 6am to 8pm most days, including weekends. A lot of stuff got done during that time.

Now, was that sane? Not quite, but the cool thing is that the others there were just like me. And then in the evening we would always go out to eat and have a bit of social life. Obviously that’s not sustainable in the long run, but it was one great marathon!

For those who don’t know me personally, I’m the bearded dude with the Hurley shirt on the left. Photo credit:  https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ3y6XFBHHH/?taken-by=angkorhub

For those who don’t know me personally, I’m the bearded dude with the Hurley shirt on the left. Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ3y6XFBHHH/?taken-by=angkorhub

And then after the two months, a friend of mine joined me to travel for a 2-week vacation. We went to multiple places Thailand and I used my computer like 0 times, except for some trip planning. It was refreshing and a good way to disconnect. I ended up taking an extra week off because I caught a cold near the end of vacation. Oh well!

Most incredible sunset I had ever seen. — Ao Nang, Thailand

Most incredible sunset I had ever seen. — Ao Nang, Thailand

James Bond Island

James Bond Island

Some insane rock climbing by Railay beach.

Some insane rock climbing by Railay beach.

Classic Danny sleeping in transportation (left) and Nick taking selfies (right)

Classic Danny sleeping in transportation (left) and Nick taking selfies (right)

So was that a good way to balance work/life?

I think it really depends on personality. For me, yes, it was perfect. I could never have done as much in 3 months if I didn’t have complete focus for two of these months. And when you enjoy what you’re doing, working 14 hours per day is not even that hard.

But then after the two months, I was really exhausted. So going to Thailand and focusing on enjoying life helped me resource my energy for the coming months. Not being restricted to certain dates and hours to do/visit things is great. Doing/visiting things while working is distracting I find personally.

Is that what you’ll be doing next?

Yeah, more or less. I’ll try this pattern for the next little while and see if it’s a good solution for myself. Feel free to try it yourself and give me a shout if you need some advice!

First published here:  https://medium.com/power-level-studios/story-2-balancing-work-life-for-nomads-69eb7e45957a