It was early morning and I had a spring in my step, skipping along the city streets, coffee in one hand camera bag in the other. I was so excited to be attending this course, to finally be learning how to use the manual settings of my DSLR camera.
I had been taking some cool photos on the auto setting and my confidence was high. All I needed was some expert tips, a bit of help with the techie stuff and the rest would be easy.
Or so I thought.
I was blissfully unaware of just how involved and intricate photography could be, and how much there would be for me to learn.
The morning flew by in a blur.
Aperture priority, shutter speed, white balance, focus, oh what was that aperture thing again?
When I change this it does what?
Oh no, look what just happened to that photo.
That shot is amazing, what were those settings again?
Where is the light, where did it go? Aaaghhhh the sun is so bright here?
And we were not even in full manual mode yet.
In the blink of an eye the session was over. I sat on the train heading for home, dazed and confused by what had just happened.
In the space of four hours I had gone from confident and excited to overwhelmed and unsure. I had become fully aware how inexpert I was with the manual mode of my camera. I now clearly knew what I did not know.
I did not like this feeling, I did not like it at all. The urge to give up was welling inside, it was all too hard and would take too long.
I stopped for a moment and embraced my feelings. I knew this discomfort was reason to rejoice, it was a sign that I had just entered the exquisite and wonderful space where learning occurs. The magical place outside my comfort zone.
I now had a choice.
I could continue to use my camera on its auto setting.
I could work through my unease and discomfort in order to acquire the skills and the knowledge I so desired.
That was almost a year ago, and since then I have practiced and practiced, and believe me I still have so very much to learn. I still so often find myself in that familiar place of discomfort, and unease around my abilities with the camera.
I also delight in the discomfort, excited to think that I am courageously in that space where my knowledge is developing and I am acquiring new skills.
The next time you feel that icky feeling, the one you get when you realise just how much you really have to learn, take a moment to soak it up to consider what it means and enjoy the realisation that you are now entering the learning zone.
Share your thoughts and tips in comments below. How do you embrace the discomfort of learning?