Topic 4: Describe a moment in your life you were most satisfied.
I’m going to modify this topic to make it more relevant, because who wants to hear about my life? Apparently not my friends or family. And especially who wants to hear about good times in people’s lives? I’m American! We need drama!
Anyway, the new topic is: Describe a moment you were satisfied with a video you had created.
That was a short post. I guess I’ll elaborate to pad this out.
I want to make this distinction very clear. While I’m never satisfied with my work, I absolutely never give a client a video I’m not proud of. That may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not. The reason is I think something could always be improved.
I actually think all creative types are this way. We are never satisfied with something we’ve created. We always want to improve our creation, or we see a flaw nobody else notices and we want to fix it, or we think of a different way to express something. Given the chance, some of us would never actually finish or release a piece of work because we would never stop tweaking it. Some authors are infamous for how many times they rewrote their work and go on record as saying they would have kept rewriting it given the chance.
It’s about diminishing returns. At some point the level of accuracy or perfection you strive for no longer makes sense with the time you have to spend to get it to that level. That is not specific to creative types. I’m sure you’ve run across it in your job. At some point 20.1579346 becomes 20.16 because it’s not practical to keep calculating out to ten millionths of a number. Sure we may want to achieve that level of accuracy, but it’s just not practical. Plus, with the reality of deadlines, it will never be perfect. And quite frankly, not starving to death or not going homeless will trump my “artistic integrity” pretty much every time.
And the fact that I’m never satisfied isn’t a bad thing. It makes me strive to improve what I do so that the next video will be even better. It makes me want to learn new lighting techniques, new graphics software, new camera tricks to continually better my products.
My thought is that satisfaction can lead to complacency if you let it. When you are satisfied with something, why change it? Why change what you are doing? In that moment, growth stops and as I mentioned in a previous post, once growth stops, your product and your business are in danger.
Now that doesn’t mean you can’t find satisfaction in a job well done. (And that’s more than likely what this topic was supposed to be about, but that’s too boring. “Well this one time I shot this video that looked super duper and I was totes happy!”) I think everyone should take a brief moment to look back on their work and congratulate themselves on accomplishing their goal. But don’t think you’re done. You’ve still got more to do, more to learn, more ways to improve.
I love hiking, and I think a parallel can be drawn. If you are hiking up a mountain and come to a nice vista, don’t just stay there enjoying the view. There are more and better views that you have to climb to see. And likewise, if you’re hiking up a mountain but don’t stop to take in the view every once in a while, you’ve missed out on some beautiful things. You’ve missed out on the journey of the hike, which is the whole point.
If you didn’t get the analogy, I’m saying life is like the hike. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some hiking to do.*
*Do I mean living or actual hiking? You’ll never know and I’m sure it’ll keep you up at night!