I don’t usually engage in Facebook dares, challenges, and things of that nature. But there is one in which I’m presently engaged that is both fun and interesting. One of my friends (a “real” friend) challenged me to post a black and white picture each day for a week. The pictures are supposed to not have any people in them, and the post is not supposed to explain the photo. Lastly, part of the challenge is to pass the challenge along to a new person each day. (I’ve been picking people I thought would have fun with it.)
The interesting part is seeing how different a photo looks after I edit it to gray scale, that is, black and white. I hesitate to say they become more “artsy” but there is a distinct difference in how they present the subject. Perhaps it’s because black and white requires a bit more thought to interpret. I’m reminded that I once heard that Alfred Hitchcock preferred black and white for movies because it was better for storytelling. And I cannot recall off the top of my head that I ever saw a color photo by Ansel Adams. I’m guessing they knew a thing or two about the field.
There might be something to this black and white challenge worth pursuing.
Decrappification is as much about attitude and perception as it is about practice. There are days when we just get so wound up in what’s going on around us that we stress ourselves out, often without realizing that we are doing so. Since one of my goals is to reduce the amount of stress in my life I try to be aware of stress-inducing situations.
The flip side of this is that I also look for ways to mitigate or avoid stress in the first place. For example, I recently re-shingled part of the roof on my 128 year old house. Now, the physical labor part of it wasn’t stressful. My father taught me how to do this and while it may be tedious, it’s not difficult. The potential for stress occurred when I was removing two layers of old shingles in preparation for the new ones.
When I uncovered the originals I was surprised to find that in one upper corner someone had laid three shingles out 90 degrees to the way they are supposed to be installed. Adding to the surprise was the lack of underlayment (a layer of water resistant material such as rosin paper or tar felt). Before I could install my new shingles I had to basically rebuild that entire corner. And in the second layer of shingles someone had slathered roofing tar all over the place. It may have made sense at the time but I couldn’t figure out why. All I know is that I really didn’t enjoy chiseling the old, rock hard tar off the roof.
My point here is that I could have allowed all this extra work to get under my skin. Instead, I broke it down into manageable steps and proceeded to accomplish one thing at a time. I also took a few minutes to assess and realized that while there was extra work to be done, it wasn’t apocalyptic. At the end of the project, my new roof turned pretty darn well for an amateur and I basked in the glow of satisfaction from a job well done.
When you run into unexpected difficulties in your day to day activities-and we all do-I encourage you to step back and assess the situation. As I wrote above, it’s about attitude and perception.