Wake Up and Get Out of Your Funk

Wake Up and Get Out of Your Funk

Wake up, get out of your funk, and do something new. Those are words that I say to myself quite often, and if we are all being honest, we all say them to ourselves often too, and if not, then we should. Why, you may ask? Because if you don’t, then you will either continue to be stuck in a rut or you will be, unknowingly, damaging our potential for growth and overall satisfaction.

"Strong words," I hear you say. "Who is he to lecture me?" I hear others say. Well, the fact is, if I don’t say it, or even worse, you don’t say it, then I’m afraid you are flatlining in your photography and possibly in your life also. "Do something every day that scares you" is a phrase I am sure everyone has heard before, but what does it actually mean, and how relevant is it to you?

Do Something Every Day That Scares You

he intention is to foster personal growth by stepping outside one's comfort zone. Confronting fears regularly increases the possibility of developing resilience, gaining new experiences, and broadening our perspectives. It aligns with the idea that overcoming challenges leads to self-discovery and increased confidence and advocates for a proactive approach to personal development. The underlying philosophy suggests that by intentionally confronting things that incite fear or discomfort, individuals can break through self-imposed limitations and expand their horizons.

Engaging in daily activities that induce fear can vary widely, from facing social anxieties to taking on new challenges in various aspects of life. The idea is not necessarily to undertake extreme or reckless endeavors but rather to push oneself slightly beyond the comfort zone regularly.

This approach aligns with psychological concepts such as exposure therapy, where gradual and controlled exposure to fears or discomfort can lead to desensitization and increased emotional resilience. It implies that growth occurs when we navigate the fine line between the known and the unknown.

While the statement itself lacks specificity, its strength lies in its ability to resonate broadly with the human experience. It emphasizes the importance of embracing discomfort as a catalyst for personal growth and self-discovery.

Photography Is a Great Life Tool

In terms of our photography, we have the perfect tool to act as an enabler for growth, and more importantly, a growth mindset. If you are a portrait photographer, you may be very skilled at all types of shooting scenarios and can deal with whatever comes at you. However, if you are a studio photographer, you will have control over all of the elements, except, of course, for the model, who will not conform to formulas and settings but will instead bring their own dynamic to a shoot. If you are a wedding photographer, you will know that the strangest things can happen during any given day; your equipment can fail, so you bring a backup. People will pose all day long; however, it can be those candid moments that nobody was planning or expecting that can often lead to the best shots. If you are a landscape photographer like me, then it is relatively easy to get a good shot. It’s getting the banger shots that is the hard part; you need to plan meticulously and also have some luck when it comes to the natural light, and then above all of that, you need to know how to dial in the right settings quickly to not miss the moment. I am sure that each genre of photography has its nuances, and you are already skilled at dealing with the unknowns that come with each, but what if you had to shoot something that you hadn’t done before? Would the skills that you have mastered in your field carry any weight in this new discipline?

Life Is Boring, Right?

If you're content to persist in the routine of the mundane every day, it won't be long before monotony, dissatisfaction, and complacency set in. If you are aware of this, then it can act as the catalyst to give you the kick in the backside to challenge yourself and do something new, something that you haven’t done before. If you go on holidays to the same location year in and year out because you like it there, you know the area well, you know the best spots to eat and drink, and you know now where all the good stores are, then that may work for you for now. But would you look back while on your death bed and congratulate yourself for visiting the same place for 30 or so years and celebrate that you didn’t see other places because you didn’t know them? I believe not, and this is why you need to wake up, get out of your funk, and try something new.

Over the years, I have seen many examples of how photography can teach us things about ourselves that not only help our photography but also benefit us in life. One personal example was only shooting landscapes for me. I have been quoted many times as saying I only shoot landscapes as I don’t have to pose a rock, but is that true? When I was asked to take some shots of my niece last year because I was the “Photographer,” my immediate gut reaction was, of course, no. However, given that I was expected to do it, I figured I might as well give it a go, and at least I could say I tried. What happened is I managed to draw on my skills from a landscape photography point of view (understanding light, the lay of the landscape, and composition) and apply those to this new challenge, and not only did I manage to get some good shots, I also enjoyed the entire process. Putting myself outside of my comfort zone for that brief moment still stands to be to this day, and I have since taken other shots of subjects I had to pose, and I found myself again enjoying the process and results.

Henry Ford Was Right?

The bottom line is this: Our time on this earth is short in the bigger scheme of things. We get one shot at making it the best it can be, and this I feel is achieved by diversity. The phrase "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got" is often attributed to Henry Ford. This statement underscores the importance of change and innovation. It suggests that repeating the same actions or approaches will likely yield consistent outcomes, and if you desire different results, a departure from familiar routines or methods is necessary. In the context of personal development or professional growth, this phrase advocates for a willingness to embrace change and explore new strategies. It implies that stagnation or resistance to change may lead to a lack of progress or improvement.


So, I challenge you to get up off your backside and go do something that you haven’t done before or try something that scares you. Afterwards, you will see the benefits that this can bring, not only to your photography but also to your general wellness. If you choose to climb a hill or a mountain, or you choose to try macro photography, or even if you choose to pick up your camera for the first time in ages and shoot some local wildlife, I promise you that at first, it will feel hard, but the more you do it, the easier it will become, and then you have not only learned something new but you have taken a step to get out of a rut that you may not know you were in.

What are your thoughts on this topic and opinion? Do you feel I am right or wrong, and should mind my own business, or does it resonate with you to either get up and do something new or confirm that you are in fact in a rut?

I’d love to continue the conversation in the comments below.

Darren Spoonley's picture

Darren J. Spoonley, is an Ireland-based outdoor photographer, Podcaster, Videographer & Educator with a passion for capturing the beauty of our world.

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Great post !
Planning to shoot at my nieces's wedding next month (as an attendee), but I hope to get some good candids.
Thanks for the inspiration !

Thank you very much Mark! Delighted you enjoyed it ! Best of luck at the wedding