I’ll never forget the day my dad bought his first legit camera. It was 2001. He wasn’t a professional. He wanted to take good photos of the majestic wildlife we saw on our family trips to Yellowstone National Park. The disposable cameras he’d been using didn’t cut it. It was nearly impossible to get great shots of our family’s favorite animals—bears and wolves.
Purchasing a camera with a telephoto lens was a game changer because it allowed my Dad to take photos from a distance and increase photo quality. But there was one small issue—the camera was a manual, it didn’t have automatic focus or light adjustment. Operating it wasn’t half as easy as you might think. If you were even a hair off, the image quality suffered and you didn’t know if you messed it up until the film was developed. Plus, we never took time to learn the ins and outs of using it to its full potential.
On one particular trip as the sun was just starting to pop up from the horizon we spotted a black bear and her cubs walking across a fallen dead tree. It was an incredible site. They were only 30 yards away from the road! We pulled our vehicle over to watch. My dad grabbed out his camera and captured the incredible moment. That was the “money shot.” The rest of the trip he jokingly said, “That picture is going to be on the cover of National Geographic!”
When we returned home from vacation, we could hardly wait the three days it took for the prints to be developed. When we gathered around and opened the envelope. We were disappointed to find that more than half of the shots were blurry! Including what we thought was the “money shot” with the mama bear and her cubs. (That didn’t stop my dad from framing some of the fuzzy ones.😂).
I’ve come to realize, our happiness is a lot like my dad’s camera. Only we have the ability to sharpen and adjust what we see, but to master the craft takes practice. In order to become skilled, we must pay attention to what we’re focusing on in the first place. It’s easy to zoom in on what’s wrong, what’s missing, or what we don’t have. This will cause anxiety, stress, headache, and heartache. Zoom out, expand your perspective. Know it could always be worse. Take time to recognize what & who you have and what’s going right. We need to do this everyday in order to get through life with peace and happiness.
I have to expand my perspective a lot during the pandemic. I start focusing on the canceled speaking engagements, vacations, the soccer league our kids were signed up for, trick or treating, but even missing the little things like going to restaurants or the kids being at school. I pull myself out of that headspace by recognizing that we are all healthy, safe, together, and happy. I understand it could be worse and others do have it worse. It takes adjusting my focus and zooming out.
Is there something going in your life or in the world that you are too zoomed in on and is causing you a headache? Try zooming out and focus on what & who you do have in your life.