How’s Your Inner Photoshop?

While I was clicking a few photos the other day, taking in the amazing view of a rainbow over the ocean stretched out in front of me, I thought about how we can instantly “photoshop out” things we don’t want in our picture. In this case, just off to my right were some manmade structures – telephone poles with a large power transformer on it – which took away from the natural beauty in front of me. But it wasn’t until I actually looked at the scene in the camera’s digital display that I realized that they were even there.

As humans we’re able to ignore things in our view as if they’re not there, whereas a camera just reports the facts, no matter what’s there. It’s just one of the many differences between our minds and mechanical instruments. Anyone who’s spent any time with a camera knows how true this is, especially after thinking you’ve just taken an award-winning photo only to discover some distracting object in it that you hadn’t noticed while shooting it.

I think this human ability is both a good thing and a bad thing. And since we’re stuck with it as humans, I’ll admit there’s not much use in thinking it’s a bad thing! But it may cause problems if we’re not aware that we’re constantly doing this.

So here’s my point: How often do we “photoshop out” things we don’t want to see in our business and personal life? By mentally deleting them from our view, are we missing important information?

Being able to see a situation or a person and focusing on all the good is a valuable ability; if all we ever did was see the ugly parts we couldn’t enjoy the beauty. But if all we do is see the good stuff, and we ignore the bad, we may miss what’s critical.

Since I had the minor revelation (okay, I’m easily reveled!) about how we “photoshop out” what we don’t want to see, I’ve tried to be more aware. Not just looking for the bad, but simply being aware of it. For once I was aware that the manmade structures were in my photo, I adjusted the focus of the camera just slightly and ended up with a much nicer shot. Perhaps with a minor adjustment to how I look at a situation or person I can end up with a much nicer picture, too.

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