It was exactly one year ago that I departed the sunny shores of New Zealand for beautiful Cologne in Germany. I was attending the world’s biggest photography and imaging festival, Photokina.
This is not a blog about the festival, although I did already blog about it at the time – you can read it here. It simply makes me reflect on the fact that it has been an entire year since that trip, however in my mind it feels as fresh as if it were only weeks ago.
There is no Photokina festival this year but look out for it in May of 2020, where no doubt some monumental announcements will be made as per usual. I would also note that Nikon, Leica, and Olympus have confirmed they will not be in attendance, so let’s hope they have something else up their sleeve. Leica is in a class of its own, however, so they have little to worry about.
In the meantime I will continue to covet the Leica Q2, Ricoh GRIII, Canon EOS R plus RF 28-70 f2, and the Fujifilm GFX 50R and their novelty sized lenses.
We live in an age of analysis and measurement. Our devices track our sleep, how many steps we take, how many calories we consume, how often we use social media, our heart rate, our screen time, and so much more. GPS can track our every movement, Tinder can find us a mating partner based on geographical location, and if you want to track your period, menstruation, menopause, ovulation calendar, and monitor your pregnancy within a single mobile application – you can (it’s called Flo).
You may be wondering to yourself why we need to live a life so heavily analyzed and measured. Our lives are becoming quantified but for what? The app Exist boasts that ‘by combining data from services you already use, [they] can help you understandwhat makes you more happy, productive, and active.’ But why do you need an app to tell you that, I mean, shouldn’t you already know yourself well enough to figure it out? Maybe not, it seems.
Data is the gold. Specifically, your data.
I can imagine a future where data mining and analytics will render many jobs and/ or industries redundant, whilst at the same time create new opportunities and possible pathways that we can’t even imagine yet. We can’t fully predict what the next technological revolution will bring, but we can assume it will be extremely disruptive.
At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only thirteen people.
These past few months for me have been insightful, in fact I could say they have been life changing.
Since graduating from University I have been inclined to throwing myself into work, no matter the cost on myself or others around me, I have come to learn that through reflection and perspective. As a mater of fact, this daily blog started as a means to fill the time, and now it has grown to become an active, real time diary of who I am.
Who am I? For the past 15 years I had been too busy to ask. One day the busyness stopped, everything went quiet – literally. The phone stopped ringing and buzzing with text messages, emails, and other notifications. My diary became empty, and stayed empty. While everyone went to work I had all the time and space in the world but I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t know who I was anymore and I felt like a shadow of myself.
Over the following weeks I engaged with the few people from my network, people from all backgrounds, all disciplines, and I began to seek their knowledge, advice, but I still had no plan. One such meeting with a friend who I hadn’t seen for years (who is now a leadership coach, and an amazing one at that) managed to point out the obvious to me… although it wasn’t so obvious to me then! She put it all into perspective for me when told me “it’s like you’re floating in space, grabbing at things as they float towards you”, she was dead right. I will forever value her wisdom and kindness.
It would be foolish to think that I have it all figured out now, however I can say that I know myself in a way I never did before. Something I could have never found out if I didn’t stop and ground myself.
I am fortunate to have the people I do in my life, because if it weren’t for them I may still be floating in space.
Your arms don’t hang by your side in space like they do on Earth because there is no gravity. It feels awkward to have them floating in front of me.
– Scott Kelly, retired Navy Captain and NASA Astronaut
There are two ways things can happen, either by chance or intentionally.
I am not a statistician, however I know that it is more likely to achieve something when you approach it with intent. You can apply urgency, priority, whatever else to speed it along, however if you don’t put your finger on what it is, then it’s simply an abstract concept.
Last month, NASA declared that it “will put the first woman and next man on the Moon in five years” (taken from NASA’s twitter, quoting Administrator Jim Bridenstine). They follow this up by declaring that “The next revolution will happen in space – a space economy built on mining, tourism, and scientific research that will power and empower future generations”.
You decide on your path. If you want to take a chance and go for it, then you must be able to follow through with a plan. If not, your dream will never develop wings.
Dream big. Believe in your ability to pull through.