False Praise Can Kill You and Sharks are NOT PURPLE!

It starts basically the first the day of school.  As little kids we get crayons and a piece of paper.  Being we are only 5, we draw a “God Awful” mess of different colors and shapes which no one can tell what it is, but everyone who sees it says it is beautiful!  Our parents want to encourage us so much they put our little mess on the refrigerator, which encourages us to draw more crappy drawings which our parents continue to display.  It is usually not until one brutally honest classmate says that he can’t tell what you have drawn, questions if sharks are supposed to be purple and finally says you suck at drawing that you begin to question your artistic ability and your parent finally get to put normal stuff on their refrigerator.  Many Mom’s look at this day as being so sad, but think of how the art world would change if there wasn’t that one brutally honest kid that posed the question, are sharks supposed to be purple?

This encouragement is vital when we are children.  Most of us have a balance of praise from adults in our lives and reality from classmates in school and siblings at home.  But what happens if you are home schooled (no honest feedback from classmates) and/or you are an only child (no honest feedback from brothers or sisters)  We would spend our whole lives thinking everything was easy, because the first time we did anything it would seem to be a success!  The first time we cooked anything for the adults in our lives, they would have us believing we were a gourmet chef, the first time we played with clay or made a mud mountain we will believe we were gifted artists!

As a child, we need a whole lot more encouragement than we need honesty when it comes to the things we try, so we actually try them again.  As adults however, we need honesty to base our decisions on that will shape our futures.  If you are thirty-five and sleeping on your mom sofa, you probably need someone to tell you, “SHARKS ARE NOT PURPLE!”  If you a 40-year-old model that has always been overweight, short and some say unattractive, you probably need someone to tell you, “SHARKS ARE NOT PURPLE”.  As adults we need to understand reality, more than we need constant false praise (much more).  If you are a great chef, but suck at business, you shouldn’t go into the restaurant business, you should probably work for, or partner with someone else who runs the business while you run the kitchen.  If you are a photographer with a family and the only way your family survives is your wife has a great job, maybe it’s time to realize that Sharks are Not Purple!

In the business world we are all not cut out to be everything.  To be a successful photographer, you have to be a really good photographer, a shrewd business person as well as hugely determined to make it in such a competitive profession.  It can be done, there are successful photographers in every town still working and making good money, but you have to be suited for this profession, just like a the chef, the model and the 35-year-old guy on his mothers sofa.  Sharks are not purple, but they will eat you alive if you can’t see them coming!

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on August 14, 2012.

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