Inspiration | UNthink by Erik Wahl

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As a little bit of a departure from my normal Inspiration posts, I wanted to highlight a book that I read towards the end of 2013 because I believe it sets an awesome tone for what 2014 has to offer. All of us – and by us I don’t just mean photographers but all small business owners – have been in the process recently of looking at what was accomplished in 2013, and looking at what we want to accomplish for the year to come. In doing so, I always like to try and pick a book that I feel will set a tone for how I want to adjust my mindset, twist the comfortable axis I’m currently spinning on, and make me uncomfortable. Discomfort and different situations are what push us to become better photographers, creatives, business owners, salesmen, husbands, wives, and all around better people. It’s during these times that we learn to adapt and evolve into the next phase of our lives. Fortunately for me, I found the perfect book that is about just that – twisting your perspective and getting greater results.

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UNthink by Erik Wahl is an awesome book that I think anybody (not just photogs or creatives) can benefit from reading. His own journey towards becoming the graffiti artist and corporate speaker he is today was remarkable. He was a corporate guy himself, doing well in the business world yet not totally satisfied with what he was doing, when the internet bubble burst and he lost everything. Needing to destress during an extremely stressful period for him and his family, he turned to art and found his calling and passion. It was through this that he figured out how uninspired some corporate people can be, and how poor at business many creatives are. By seeing both perspectives, he is able to bring an awesome insight to the table that can help pretty much anybody become more inspired at what they’re doing. Whether it be your normal 9-5 day job, or creating graffiti art in under 3 minutes on a live stage. UNthink is inspired and helps you set a perspective for making yourself uncomfortable in order to grow. A lot of this, surprisingly or unsurprisingly enough, has to do with reverting back to thinking like we did when we were children. By being inspired by the world around us, and to be unafraid to go explore that world without the thought of social taboos and protocols. It’s a perspective is truly fascinating when you read the book and look at the references to scientific studies and findings.

One of my favorite quotes from the book that I think speaks to a lot of photographers out there – just to give y’all a quick taste of what it has to offer – has to do with remaining open to what’s happening in front of us:

“There are so many unpredictable variables in our workdays that we can’t script creative solutions and continual breakthroughs with data alone. We have to loosen our dependence on what is known so that what is unknown can reach out senses and fuel bigger ideas.”
– Erik Wahl, UNthink

So, go into 2014 with an open mind and take it one day at a time. Everybody is hustling (or just stopped hustling for 80% of us as of yesterday) around with their New Year’s Resolutions and huge business planning sessions for 2014, but you still have to take it one day and one idea at a time.

“The big picture can be inspiring, but the small picture of one day is the only context in which the big picture will become a reality.”
– Erik Wahl, UNthink

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