Perfect Takes Work

Every so often I run across a story that leaves me in awe. A story out of Scotland about a photography who has spent years trying to make the ‘perfect’ picture is one of those stories.

In “A Perfect Photo of a Kingfisher, 720K Pictures in the Making“, the story of Alan McFadyen’s attempt to capture the ‘perfect’ photo of a kingfisher diving a mirror-like water surface is described. From the article:

Thus began an obsessive quest for the perfect shot, a quest McFadyen estimates took some 4,200 hours and 720,000 exposures. He tried many angles and compositions before landing on the idea of a mirror image.

4200 hours and 720,000 images.  Can you imagine? Sure…its much easier to take that many photos with a digital camera these days and with the speed of modern professional gear, you can rattle off 10 images a second but still…4200 hours (175 days if worked straight through) is a long time looking for that ‘perfect’ image over the course of 6 years.

The photograph that took 720K images to make:

Alan McFadyen's "Perfect" Kingfisher shot

Alan McFadyen’s “Perfect” Kingfisher shot

Perfect takes Work

I’ve been known to say ‘perfect destroys good’ and ‘done is better than perfect’, but in this case, I have to agree that ‘perfect’ is perfect.  Sometimes, it is worth the effort for perfect.

The takeaway from this (other than an absolutely stunning image) is that perfect takes work. You don’t show up to your first day on the job or project and do things perfectly. You don’t pick up a camera and take the perfect image on your first attempt.

Perfect takes work. Are you willing to do the work?

Check out Alan’s work on flickr and his Scottish Photography Blinds website for more info on him, his photography and services.

Image credit: Photograph by Alan McFadyen and used with permission

There is No Holy Grail

Regardless of what you may have heard, there is no Holy Grail.

Now…we may never know if the the myth of the Holy Grail is real or not…but…looking for the “holy grail’ in your life  is a waste of time.

I run across a lot of folks looking for that holy grail. They are looking for the perfect process, perfect system, perfect strategy. They are looking for the thing that will ‘turn their life around’.

I see a lot of this type of thinking in business. Some examples that I recall from my career:

  • Email is the holy grail for marketing.
  • E-commerce is the holy grail for business
  • Virtualization is the holy grail for IT.
  • The balanced scorecard is the holy grail for Operations.
  • Social media is the holy grail for marketing.
  • Certified Project Managers are the holy grail for project success.
  • The Cloud is the holy grail for IT.
  • Social Business is the holy grail for business.

Notice a pattern here?

I could take just about any two phrases and wrap them in a sentence…and probably make good money selling that new sentence as a consultant. Here’s the template:

_________ is/are the holy grail for _______________.

I’m thinking about trademarking that. 🙂

The idea of a “holy grail” is one we all want to believe in.

The mega-millions lottery this past weekend is a great example…you couldn’t do anything without running across someone talking about what they will do when they win ‘all that money’.  Its great to wish and dream…but the odds of winning were 175 million to 1.  Those are big odds to overcome.

Now…I’ll be the first to admit I spent a few minutes dreaming about winning the lottery and being a bazillionaire. It would be nice, no?  But…my practical side came back fairly quick and I went about my day.

The “holy grail” doesn’t exist for 99.999% of people. Sure there are some that are lucky…but that luck isn’t what you should be looking for.

Stop looking for the holy grail. There is no holy grail in life, business nor in IT.

At the end of the day, its all about doing the work. Getting better at the work and doing the work some more. And then doing the work some more.

Image Credit: Holy Grail By Eddi van W. on flikcr

Tuesday Links – Nov 25 2008

I initially said I was going to post some links every Sunday…but I’m running across some really interesting things out there.

So…I’ll be posting Sunday links along with one or two other link posts throughout the week…but…I will not be turning this blog into a link farm.   I’m doing this really to share some excellent articles & blogs that I find while reading through my feeds.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

If you'd like to receive updates when new posts are published, signup for my mailing list. I won't sell or share your email.