LEARN MORE: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/02/18/why-i-live/
WHY I LIVE
Why do I live? Why do I wakeup everyday?
What pushes me? What drives me? Why do I do what I do, and why am I so excited to (continue) living?
First of all, excitement. I am excited for the day -- today. What I will do, what I will attempt, and what I will accomplish. And to be frank, I am not so concerned whether I achieve it or not, but I'm more curious about fulfilling my curiosity:
CAN I do this-- am I strong enough?
I then attempt it. If I fail, it ain't that big of a deal. I then simply know that I will continue to train, and continue to attempt! Because even success is a bit overrated. When I succeed, I'm always interested to go 'onto the next one'. Thus, success and failure are the same thing to me. What is more important: ATTEMPTING to go BEYOND.
Helping empower others
My morality and ethics are very simple:
Treat others how I would like to have been treated when I was a kid.
Or more simply:
Treating others how I would like others to treat me.
For example, I am sooooo grateful for all the adults who helped empower me as a child. And I wouldn't be where I am without their external help. Thus, I feel a duty and obligation to give back -- to empower other (ambitious) youngings who desire to become great.
Helping others who were once in my boots
But not just helping kids-- helping other adults. I remember when I felt disempowered, and I discovered a few things which have helped empower me. Thus my ethics are this:
If I share an idea that can empower at least 1 other human being on planet earth, it is worth sharing.
I know that what works for me doesn't work for everyone. However, if my idea, thought, or technique has even a .0001% chance of empowering another human being -- this thought and sentiment drives me to share!
I consider myself a great individual. I don't think there is another human being who has ever come who is similar to me.
I don't consider myself the greatest human being who has ever lived, but I strive to become the greatest human being who has ever lived.
Now this is a lofty goal. But it is a fun and lofty goal. It is something that gets me up in the morning. To fulfill my own vanity and ego, I push myself. For example, let me talk about my physical ego:
For my own ego, I wanted to prove to myself I could deadlift "4 plates" (405 pounds). I then strove hard to accomplish this goal, not because there is any truly practical purpose behind it. It was a pure vanity thing. I wanted to prove to myself my strength and my ability. And I achieved it. Now I am on the road to striving to deadlift 500 pounds.
Also, I have extreme vanity and ego when it comes to my bodily physique and composition. I desire to have much muscle mass, and very little body fat. I am actually currently striving to become around 200+ pounds of (mostly) muscle, with minimal body fat. Now whether I will achieve this goal or not isn't that big of a deal to me-- but striving towards this goal is fun and interesting to me.
CONCLUSION: Become all that you can be
Perhaps the life goal I got is this:
Within my very short lifetime, how much can I become? How much can I empower myself and others?
How high can I fly? What new discoveries can and will I discover? How strong can I become? What new contributions shall I make to humanity?
Lifting weights is boring when the weight is too light. Lifting weights is only fun when it is challenging, difficult, but still "achievable".
Is the best life in which you are seeking the MOST DIFFICULT and hard challenges, and striving with all your might to overcome those challenges?
Read more: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/02/17/the-path-of-maximal-resistance/
How to Live
The trillion dollar question:
How should we live our lives? What is the best life?
Let me share some honest thoughts:
Only do what you want to do, don't do anything you don't want to do.
No duty. You don't "need" to do anything. If we throw away morality and ethics, then we must stare truth and reality in the face:
You construct your own meaning in life.
There are no ultimate "purpose" to your life. There is no conscious afterlife. This life is your only life.
We are lucky enough to live in a society in which there is enough specialized labor for everything. This means, you don't gotta do what you don't care for.
For example, I don't need to grow my own food, nor do I need to slaughter my own meat. I don't care to live a lifestyle in which I must maintain things; I prefer a maximally maintenance-free lifestyle, in order for me to maximize my artistic production and creation.
"Give me a spot to stand, and I shall move the world!" - Archimedes
The basic notion is this:
Maximize your strength, and disregard your weaknesses.
Most of us generally enjoy doing what we are good at. This means:
If you keep doing what you are really good at (and you enjoy it), you will never get bored of it!
Not only that, but by maximizing your strengths in life (and sharing this with others), you can maximize your impact on humanity.
Download PDF TEXT: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/How-to-Augment-Human-Energy.pdf
Youtube video: https://youtu.be/a0fa78cQQHM
It seems all of us want more energy to do more stuff.
But what does this really mean? What is 'energy' from a physiological human-metabolism perspective? What does it mean to have "more energy", and can we augment our human energy?
And even if we have more energy -- towards which ends do we desire to channel this energy into?
Let me essay some of my thoughts:
READ MORE: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/02/16/how-to-augment-human-energy/
When should we ask for feedback? When shouldn't we ask for feedback?
Why do we ask for feedback, towards what end?
Are you a newbie?
First of all, my psychological thought:
When we ask for feedback, we are signaling that we lack self-confidence in ourselves.
When we ask for feedback, we acknowledge that the other person is smarter than us, or we perceive them as more knowledgeable or powerful than us.
Do we not want to take responsibility for ourselves and actions?
When we ask others for feedback, we want someone to blame (if we end up screwing up or failing).
Perhaps this is why companies hire consultants:
If a company institutes a new policy, and the policy is bad, they are able to transfer liability to the consultant (easy to blame the consultant).
Kind of like scapegoating.
How much faith do you have in yourself?
Consider a life in which you never asked for feedback. Can you still live a great life?
Yes! Also -- one of the benefits of NOT asking for help or feedback:
More interesting and unique self-experimentation (innovation).
For example, I mostly ignored everything on the internet about powerlifting. I just do heavy singles and attempt new PR's (usually once a week). It is against all conventional wisdom in powerlifting, but it seems to have been working for me.
Another thing -- intermittent fasting during the day, and not breaking my fast until later the day (after working out). I also have done all my powerlifting in a fasted state for almost the last 5 years, which is also seen as a "no-no" (we are indoctrinated with the notion that you must eat something BEFORE working out, but this is not true).
So perhaps the benefit of NOT asking others for feedback is that you are more likely to discover NEW TRUTHS, which are contrary to conventional wisdom.
When is it useful to ask for feedback?
If you need new ideas, and a novel perspective.
For example in photography, I wanted to know how to improve! I felt like I hit a wall in terms of self-improvement, and in order to take it to the NEXT LEVEL, I wanted to elicit the feedback from others. Much of this inspiration is what fueled arsbeta.com -- the desire to 'crowd-source' the 'wisdom of the crowds' to empower photographers from all around the planet. Essentially, creating a platform which I wish I had access to when I started photography.
You don't need to ask for feedback in order to improve.
Don't ask for feedback if you just are looking for someone to blame if you fail.
Ask for "tips" (suggestions) from others, but ultimately you decide whether to obey their feedback/ideas or not. You choose.
If you feel like you're stuck in your growth, hit a plateau, and need an outside perspective, ask for feedback, suggestions, and help!
GROW ON! ERIC
10 Rich Tips How to Make Money from Photography: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/02/13/10-rich-tips-how-to-make-money-from-photography/
Download PDF TEXT: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/10-Rich-Tips-How-to-Make-Money-from-Photography.pdf
Mp3 download: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/How-to-Make-Money-from-Photography.mp3
What is the purpose of life? There isn't an 'ultimate' purpose of life that applies to everyone. But for us brave streettogs, this is my thought:
The purpose of our lives is to devote ourselves to photography.
Use our entire lives, our entire power to make great photos, share great photos, innovate photography, discover new compositions, and push the genre and culture of photography forward!
Publish is Pleasure (Download PDF TEXT)
There is the common saying in academia "publish or perish". This is often seen in a negative light.
But what if we flipped the notion upside down, and thought that publishing IS PLEASURE?
Why is 'publish or perish' seen as such a bad notion?
Nobody likes to publish against their own will. Perhaps the stress is also feeling like you must publish according to someone else's schedule, instead of being able to follow your own personal rhythm in publishing.
To make public
Studying the etymology of the word 'publish' is interesting, because it has to do with making something public for the public (the people). Therefore to publish something is simply to make something public.
Blogging is publishing, because you make it public. If you write in a diary or journal, it isn't publishing, because it is personal to you.
Why the pressure to publish?
In academia, the 'publish or perish' notion is this:
In order to secure your spot and tenure, you must make your research public, in order for the institution to justify your worth.
Now academics always get stressed out about publishing. Why? They are soooo busy not only doing their original research, but serving on committees, teaching, preparing their courses, going to conferences, dealing with travel and logistics, etc.
But something I'm curious about:
Do academics really like publishing, or do they simply publish for the sake of getting a tenured position?
Publish and perishing notions in blogging, social media, YouTube, etc.
There are similar notions with internet publishing. The notion 'feed the beast' or 'upload or perish' seem to fit well here.
But my thought is this:
Much of social media is about FOMO (fear of missing out) or fear of being forgotten than actually the joy of publishing, sharing, and making things public.
Not only that, but this horrible obsession with numbers, views, followers, etc. Numbers don't matter-- longevity, depth, profundity, and wisdom matter.
Only publish if you get pleasure from it
This is my thought:
If you publish something which brings you pleasure, it is more likely to last.
Why? To publish something which gives you pleasure is actually an indicator that you're doing something truly for the love of it, or that thing actually interests you. And generally things which interest you have a high likelihood of interesting others.
Only publish what you care for
Thus, my simple takeaway is this:
Only publish what you care for.
Also, publish and make public your thoughts or art-works which resonate with you. The more your artwork resonates with yourself, the more likely it is to resonate with others.
Where Should You Stand?
“Give me but one firm spot on which to stand, and I will move the earth.” - Archimedes
Download mp3: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Exploit-Your-Strengths-Ignore-Your-Weaknesses-Archimedes-Lever.mp3
Exploit your strengths, ignore your weaknesses.
Allow yourself to become asymmetric; don't aim to become 'balanced'. Better to maximize your strengths, than to build upon your 'weaknesses'.
Never stop practicing. Practice is like it were your first time. Retain your child-like "beginner's mind".
Mp3 download: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Practice-is-Pleasure.mp3
Have the mentality that there are MORE opportunities you have yet discovered. Don't let yourself become trapped by concepts, and certainly don't self-censor yourself (Political Correctness is bad).
The aim isn't perfection
When I write, it is pleasurable! When I lift weights, it is insanely fun! Photography and art-creation is endlessly fascinating to me.
When we follow the ethos 'practice makes perfect', we end up getting suckered somewhere. Why? We aim for perfection; we don't do the practice for the sake of it.
'Practice is pleasure' is better as a notion. It keeps us motivated to practice, because the practice in itself is fun!
What is one of the noblest goals you can have in life? Simple: Focus on your own personal development.
Read more: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/02/06/develop-yourself/
Watch YouTube: https://youtu.be/XwNHoihQau0
Pursue entrepreneurship for your own personal and selfish aims.
Learn more: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2020/02/04/solo-entrepreneurship/
Download PDF TEXT: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Solo-Entrepreneurship.pdf
Mp3 Download: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Solo-Entrepreneurship.mp3
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/NZ2pPPpwXrM
Leica M-E 220: Honest Thoughts and Ricoh GR Temptations (on Dylan's new channel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlbdmO96kqo&
See Dylan's Website: https://www.dylanfanphoto.com
Dylan Fan's email: Dylan2000leap@gmail.com
A thought: all of existence can be justified even with one great photo.
Also— an entire trip or experience can be justified for even one great photo. Same goes with [x] amount of money spent on an experience, spent on equipment and gear, travels, etc.
Mp3 download link >
The principle to life: never stop striving to gain more!
1. Money isn’t for utility: It is simply a game to acquire more of it.
Infinite gains in the gym, whether muscular mass gains (gaining weight in muscle), or gains in terms of powerlifting “one rep max”.
2. Never stop augmenting your ego: You must continue to build your ego, self confidence, and self focus. The ego can never be too large.
3. Never stop innovation: Innovation as life augmented. The goal is infinite gains for life.
4. Never stop accumulating, assimilating, appropriating.
5. Never stop expanding and becoming more.
More philosophy: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/philosophy/
Via Negativa Traveling
Inspired by Nassim Taleb, a thought about travel:
Before traveling, don't stress so much on what to bring, but focus and think deeply on what NOT to bring!
When traveling, decide what you DON'T care to do, or what you don't want to do.
When talking to locals, instead of asking them 'what to do", ask them: "What touristy and stupid things should I NOT do?"
When packing for your trip, decide what NOT to bring, what NOT to pack, what devices NOT to bring.
Treat travel as an opportunity for 'simulated poverty' (Seneca's idea). For example -- are you brave enough to leave your phone at home? Or your iPad? Or your laptop? Treat it like a fun game -- intentionally UNDER-PACK for your trip!
What are you traveling for?
Traveling is a good way to SUBTRACT the internet, SUBTRACT your worries from back home, and SUBTRACT all the silly noise back home.
For example I am about to leave tomorrow to Cuba for a week, and will not have access to the internet (this is what I am the most excited for). I wonder:
A week without internet? What will I do, and NOT do?
What camera equipment NOT to bring
Figure out what superfluous camera equipment to leave at home.
For this trip (one week in Cuba, two weeks in Mexico City), I am only bringing RICOH GR III.
Insanely lightweight is the goal
This is what I have learned from my decade+ of travel:
When in doubt, throw it out.
99% of the things we think we 'need' in travel is superfluous. Furthermore, if we truly see travel as a road to adventure, having LESS makes things more interesting. Treat it like a fun 'creative constraint':
See how little you can pack for your trip.
Minimum viable travel
What is the minimum viable amount of stuff you can bring for your trip, without any serious downside?
Let this be your guiding force!
Probably one of the best ideas which have come out of Silicon Valley is the notion of the “MVP” (minimum viable product). I am not sure who first coined the phrase, but my guess it is Ryan from BackYard Brew in Palo Alto.
Anyways the extrapolation I have is this:
What if we applied a ‘minimum viable’ design philosophy, or thinking philosophy, or life philosophy to everything?
Learn more >
Success as a photographer means to never stop shooting new photos!
If we use this as our definition for photography and art, then perhaps Henri Cartier-Bresson wasn’t a successful photographer (he gave up photography), and we can consider Richard AVEDON (died while on assignment) and Josef Koudelka (in his 80s and still traveling and making new photos) as highly successful.
Thoughts on the desire for a "perfect" and "ultimate" productivity device:
What do we really want?
Something ultralight, always with you.
Something to increase your ability to produce more creative things.
To have a device which makes you feel more powerful.
But the question is:
Can iPhone (or any device) do this for us?
Live as if today were your last day on planet earth (MEMENTO MORI), but also live as if your day (today) will be put on repeat for infinity (ETERNAL RETURN).
Learn more: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2019/08/27/play-the-long-game/
A thought while at the gym today:
True happiness is the striving for more.
Once you got the thing, you aren’t “happy” anymore. Happiness is the joy of overcoming difficulties, challenges, the joy of battling an obstacle/opponent.
Never stop striving for more.
Learn more: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2019/08/05/true-happiness-is-the-striving-for-more/
One of the best silicon-valley thought concepts is the idea of the ‘MVP’ (minimum viable product). It is anti-perfection. It is PRO-quick iteration, and just getting it out there!
I think if we all lived more ‘MVP’-minded, we would be more creatively productive, confident, and happier!
Learn more: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2019/07/24/minimum-viable-product-mvp-for-entrepreneurship/
http://ARSBETA.COM - The Anti-Social Social Media for Photographers
If you desire to thrive as a photographer, #deleteinstagram and join ARSBETA.COM instead.
Why do you make photos?
“What you rappers rap for?” – Kanye West
First of all, ask yourself:
Why do you make photos?
I feel the best reason to make photos is to express yourself creatively and artistically. Or more specifically,
To ‘flex’ your artistic power. To share this artwork with others.
This is the problem with Instagram:
You start to quantify your progress and value based on the number of likes and followers you have.
I personally believe that your progress as a photographer/visual-artist should be based on your own inner-metrics. Your own ‘inner scorecard’ (as Warren Buffet calls it). The basic idea is that we should NOT use social media (Facebook/Instagram) as a tool to judge ourselves.
No. If you want honest feedback and constructive critique on your photos, arsbeta.com is the solution.
Learn more here: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2019/07/22/why-instagram-is-bad-for-photographers/
Life is about growth. Our passion is photography and visual arts. How can we optimize our own artistic growth in photography and beyond?
Becoming stronger, becoming bigger, become more powerful, becoming taller, extending your reach.
It seems that life operates on this growth principle.
What is the opposite of growth? Degeneration. Getting smaller. Getting weaker. Becoming more meek.
Why grow? It seems there is no other option!
How to grow
To grow as a photographer and visual artist:
To continue to make new photos, to gain influence, to evolve in your philosophy of aesthetics, to dig your creative roots deeper, to become more multifarious.
Learn more : https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2019/07/23/if-youre-not-busy-growing-youre-busy-dying/
A difficult question to answer:
Why give more?
First of all, it seems that the more we give, the more we receive in return. Now, the purpose of us giving isn't to receive. We give out of super-abundance. However it does seem that the logical *consequence* of us giving much is us receiving much.
Thus, don't give in order to receive. Give because you want to share your inner-dopeness with others! And keep giving without exhaustion. And as a consequence of continually giving, you will receive more. And the more you receive, the more you can continue to give!
Read more: https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2019/07/22/why-give-more/
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Is this statement really true?
What if the opposite were true:
Abundance is the mother of invention.
Let me explore these ideas with you.
Are you creating this thing because you need money, or because you don’t need money?
One of my best epiphanies in life when living in Vietnam:
Wow, I will never starve to death.
I am earning money quicker than I can spend it.
Thus, I will never become broke. Thus, I can take any entrepreneurial risks in my life!