Once upon a time, a martial artist was pondering that no one likes to get hit. Avoid being hit because it is painful. Being kicked is even more painful because of the power in your legs. This is a negative experience. Understanding this principle through lots of personal experience of being a punching bag, she asked her sifu (teacher), “Sir, what is the best way to block a kick?” The reply was “Don’t be where the kick is. Be flexible.”
In photography and the other visual arts, negative things (kicks) will happen to you. Simple things, like a having a scheduled shoot at the local arboretum cancelled due to an ice storm. Or, it can even be life threatening, like realizing that there is nothing between you and that magnificent, yet very large, 800 lb. silverback gorilla. How you react to each situation will determine if you get out of it unharmed or in many tiny scattered pieces. The secret is flexibility. Be flexible. Be understanding, and avoid placing blame. You do not have time for blame when you are in a crisis.
Look at your options, very quickly if need be, and determine your best course of action. Realize that even if you do nothing to solve a crisis you are still doing something. Then do it. Do not hesitate. The more you make these forms of decisions the faster you become at handling the crisis quickly and efficiently.
Do you have an upset client? Find out why and come up with solutions to fix the problem. Did the snowstorm or ice storm destroy your plans to the photograph the local arboretum? See if the arboretum is open and go to see what pictures you might be able to get anyway. Take a moment to look for alternatives to your normal plans. It is important in dealing with other people and nature that you are not only focused on the task at hand but also are flexible enough to change with your current situation. The sifu was right, being flexible allows you to react to a crisis or otherwise negative event with a confidence and speed that will not only surprise you, but the people you work with will take note of how you handle pressure too.
Oh, and the gorilla? I’d suggest, not looking at him in the eyes, look down, avoid putting your chest towards him and backing away slowly. Most importantly. Listen to your trail guide very intensely. You did bring a trail guide, didn’t you?
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