What you see is what you get


I recently was able to view an Ansel Adams exhibit. Adams is considered one of the greatest photographers in American history.  He focused on artistic photographs of the American west.  He is known for his fantastic use of light and panoramic composition.  His work is fantastic!  It has been said that Adams real mastery was in the darkroom.  His ability to create the special lighting effects of his photos was impacted as much by his darkroom work as it was his creativity with the camera.  Adams once said,

The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.”

Adams was equally masterful with the camera and in the darkroom.

In many ways, the same analogy can be used with our lives in that our values compare to the composer’s score and our behaviors to its performance. Our values are those beliefs that are etched into our being that define who we really are.  For instance, an individual with a value of service will naturally see things from the view of others.  He/She will be aware of the needs of those around them.  A person with an innate value of family will seek to put family above everything else.  A person with a value of money will do anything to gain more.  Those things we value, define what kind of person we become.  Our values are our own musical score.

However, no matter how wonderful the score, the performance is what we remember. How many of you recall attending the first band or orchestra concert for one of your children or a nephew or niece?  Even the most wonderful musical score sounds squeaky, out-of-rhythm, and awkward.  The performance makes the difference.  The same holds true for our lives.  We can have great values, but if our execution or performance of these values is amiss, the life others see is inauthentic.  For example, you can say all day long that you value your family more than anything else.  However, if you never attend a child’s school or sporting event, rarely have dinner with your family, and put work always before family, your life doesn’t reflect that value.

So, the challenge today is to ask yourself, “Does my visible life reflect what I say is most important to me?” In other words, can others say about you, “What you see is what you get.”

Today might be your very best yet… there is still a chance. Enjoy those special and common moments that come your way today.


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