A while back I read some interesting statistics.

“Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can’t make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street.” source

I’ve kept that in my draft folder for blogging for the past few months, and have read it at least once a week. And every time I look at them, I wonder if it all can really be true. I know the answer is yes. I myself know many people who have been unemployed or underemployed for well over a year now, and really no end in sight.

I’ve also talked with a bunch of these unemployed or underemployed people, trying to find out a little more about their mindset. And while I would never classify everyone into one category, I did start noticing a trend – people become focused on how they perceived their lives from the perspective of several years ago, not from where we stand today. So if they have a degree in engineering, and worked as an engineer in a traditional environment for a number of years, they can’t pull back the mindset and find a different direction to go now that things have changed.

Have you ever read the book, “Who Moved My Cheese?Great book. It follows the life of four little mice and men – Sniff and Scurry, Hem and Haw. While they all work in a maze of cheese, two realize that the only way to get more cheese is to find more cheese. If a room empties of cheese, you have to find another room. Two take the opposite approach; if the cheese was here in the past, it surely will come back at some point. So they wait and wait in the empty room, knowing someday the cheese will return.

Of course the “cheese” is meant to symbolize anything you choose it to be. Jobs, relationships, opportunities – you name it.  If you wait around for the old way to return, you will surely be disappointed. But if you always realize change is going to happen, and you’re out looking for a new way to do things, you’re sure to find opportunity.

Right now things are changing. We will never go back to the way things were even five years ago. Jobs have changed. Business has changed. Marketing has changed. Education has changed.  Financial security has changed. Even the way we live and approach our lives has changed. And the change isn’t over yet.

Which means the only way to move forward is to change and find a new way to approach things.

Just as many people become millionaires in good times as in bad. Just as many people are building successful businesses right now as they were ten years ago. It all depends on how you look at things and how you approach them.

So how are you looking at your future in photography? Are you looking at it as a way to make a few bucks until you get a real job? Do you see it through the way you knew photography to be five or ten years ago? Or are you looking for a way to change the way people perceive photography?

Do you truly see photography as your key to success over the next five years? Or do you see it as side venture until something better comes along?

There is a difference. And it will affect how well you do today, a year from now, and five years from now.

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