Just about every week I get roughly a half-dozen emails from people wanting to know how they can do what I do. How can they travel and take photographs and write stories. They see the 20% of my life that is travel and meeting people. They see my photos via CNN, USAToday or some other place and they run across the articles in some local newspaper somewhere or some .com online.
They fail to see the 80% of my life. Smoking a cigarette in the rain in Laramie, Wyoming while I’m waiting on the next bus; sitting alone for three days beside the Arkansas River in Colorado waiting on that next shot; or drinking cold coffee at 2am while I’m processing photos because I have editors I have to keep fed.
I always try to answer the emails. I feel if someone thought enough of my skills and talents to seek guidance from me, they at least deserve a response and acknowledgement.
When someone asks me how they can do what I do – doesn’t matter if the question is asked via email or in person – my initial response is always the same; “What are you willing to give up”.
I don’t hear anymore from 99% of the folks.
This morning at Starbucks I got to talking with a new friend, his name is Andy. Andy and I were talking about the state of the nation and as two good ol’ boys from Virginia are wont to do, we figured out a few simple ways to turn the country around.
One way was to figure out how to overcome the ignorance and apathy of the average American.
It’s amazing to me how people will gripe, bellyache and complain about the state of the fill-in-the-blank but won’t make any effort to change the situation.
If everyone that had ANY concern of ANY social justice issue would just give 1 hour a week of focused time to the cause of their choice, we could turn this country’s direction around tomorrow.
Instead, television, recreation, partying or something else is more important and we find ourselves at the end of the week having done NOTHING productive to make a difference.
My prediction is that if enough Americans don’t get their priorities right quick, everyone will be forced to give up some things involuntarily.
What are YOU willing to give up making a difference in this country today? I bet I don’t hear from 99% of you.