The Thief of Joy

Photo of lily pads and lotus flower reflection and Theodore Roosevelt quote "Comparison is the thief of joy."

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt

JOY! Its why I’m a photographer. It brings me joy to travel, to put my camera to my eye and capture a slice of time. It brings me joy to spend hours at my computer processing my photos. I totally geek out at the crazy cool stuff my software can do. JOY! Its why I’m here. Why would I do anything to diminish my joy?

Photo of lily pads and lotus flower reflection and Theodore Roosevelt quote "Comparison is the thief of joy."

I stumbled across the quote above a few weeks ago and it really hit home for me. I often find myself comparing my work, my life, and pretty much everything that makes me unique to those around me – photography pros, my friends, acquaintances on social media, etc. Its the quickest way to find myself heading to that dark place where I’m not good enough, haven’t accomplished enough, etc. So when I found this quote it made me stop and think – who am I comparing myself to, and why?

My life and my journey are unique to me. No one else can do it better because no one has ever been on exactly the same path. There are plenty of challenges in the world that can steal joy –  comparing myself to others shouldn’t add to that struggle.

Now I realize that comparison can be a good thing – like when I compare myself to where I was a year ago, or a decade ago. It can give me a real boost to see how far I’ve come! Comparison can give me confidence to keep moving forward. It can remind me that I’m a photographer because I love photography – the entire process! From capture to share and all of the steps in between. Photography brings me JOY and recognizing that fact reassures me that I’m on the right path, even though it’ll never be like anyone else’s…and that is a good thing.

The photo above was captured in Balboa Park in San Diego, CA. It was shot handheld with a Canon EOS 7D and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens. Processing was done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, and Adobe Photoshop CS6.

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