My very first website was called AndBeThere, and I took inspiration from the saying in photography “f/8 And Be There”.
This goes back to the time when cameras were manual, and photographers had to use their eyes and judgment to set the various camera settings to ensure a correct exposure and a usable photograph.
f/8 refers to the aperture, which is the size of the hole that lets light through the lens.
The idea behind the saying “f/8 And Be There” is that it is more important to actually be in the right place at the right time than to get the specific technical side of things right. f/8 is a middle-of-the-road aperture, and as a rule of thumb, you’ll normally take a decent photo at f/8 during the day.
The important thing in photography is not your camera gear or your settings, but the subject that you are photographing, the moment that you are capturing. You a freezing a split second of life into a frame that others will be able to view and enjoy, and you will never be able to do that if you’re at home worrying about having the right equipment, or outside but tweaking your camera settings instead of having your eyes open for opportunities.
As with photography, so with life.
Showing up is half the work, and sometimes a lot more. Everyone is muddling through life, faking things that they haven’t done before, and this is how we grow. We need to worry less about ensuring we have everything completely under our control before we actually do something.
The truth is that we will never be fully prepared, because we don’t know precisely what the future will hold, and so it is impossible to be prepared for all eventualities.
In fact, one should see the sign of being uncomfortable doing something as a positive thing. It means that we are doing something new, and that is always good for us.
So “f/8 And Be There” can be applied to all aspects of life, not just photography. It is a reminder to us that we should just go out there and do things, and not worry so much about being fully prepared or having everything under control.
Of course, there is a time and a place for planning and preparation, but all too often we use these as excuses not to take action. We convince ourselves that we need to do more research, that we don’t have the right equipment, or that we don’t know enough about the subject.
This is also linked to impostor syndrome, a condition wherein an individual believes that they are not good enough or qualified to do something, despite having evidence to the contrary. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, and can even prevent people from pursuing their goals. Although impostor syndrome is often associated with high-achieving individuals, it can affect anyone.
There are several factors that can contribute to impostor syndrome, including perfectionism, early life experiences, and societal messages. Perfectionism can set unrealistic standards that are difficult to live up to, while early life experiences may have instilled a belief that one is not capable of success. Societal messages about intelligence and ability can also play a role, leading people to doubt their own abilities.
Fortunately, there are ways to combat impostor syndrome. Building self-confidence is crucial and can be done through positive self-talk and setting realistic goals. The best thing is to start with goals that you cannot fail at, as this sets up a step-by-step process to build on.
And yet, perfectionism and overplanning affect many people, so we do nothing when really we should just go out there and give it a try.
So next time you find yourself making excuses, remember “f/8 And Be There”, and just go and do it!