Chapter 1, Task 1
In Progress

Task 18 – Defy insecurity

Task 18

Defy insecurity

The Camera Cure - Task 18
I think it is quite scary to photograph people, especially when I have to move into their personal space in order to get a good photo. Fortunately, I got to be an interpreter for some talented photographers in Soweto and Angola and then I learned a lot from studying their body language. I approach people with a certain confidence, I smile, take the photos and thank them with a thumbs up. I make sure to share a smile and create a positive atmosphere where I go. If I see to it that people have a good experience, it is easier to get good pictures. If someone is resistant, or gets angry, I smile even more broadly and move on unabated. It is difficult to be angry at someone who smiles.
Napoli, Italy, 2000. Photo: Torkil Færø



A new task is before me and my fingers hesitate again. As long as I have not written anything, then my prospects for succeeding are still good. The hope for my book turning out well fades quickly when clumsy sentences appear on the screen. Will these be good enough? Which sentence is going to be the next one? After all, I am no author; the words are stuck some- place in my brain. Should I have taken a course before throwing myself into this? The Camera Cure® – it is so big, so important. Insecurity begins to spread. I recognize this from previous experiences – on the soccer field, at a night club, before doing a big lecture, with a stranger in front of my camera lens…This insecurity has robbed me of more experiences than I can count. Couldn’t someone have told me how I was supposed to deal with this? Maybe someone did but I just didn’t listen to them or believe them.

Over time I have learned that I don’t have to feel secure to do something. Other people don’t feel secure either. They just do it anyway. That is the best antidote for uncertainty. Now I will do just that – I am writing. Reluctantly, my fingers hit the keyboard. I force myself in order to defy my insecurity.

If we always had to wait until we felt secure, we would never get out of the starting block. It is so easy to hold ourselves back, to withdraw, to make a half-hearted attempt. Then, we can avoid being called upon again to act. After all, that is safer. Nevertheless, in the long run this will just allow the insecurity to continue. It is through mastering insecurity that we become secure.

We do need a certain amount of insecurity. It keeps us sharp and stops us from going too fast around the turns. Uncertainty is not dangerous, but if we keep our feet down on the brake, we will never get out of the garage. Being insecure is built into us, so what we have to practice is using the will to act in spite of feeling this way. Do you know someone who has been curbed by insecurity? Do you know someone who just goes ahead and does something anyway? What about you?

How relevant is the issue for you on a scale of 1 to 6?:



Do it anyway

I was unable to concentrate for several days. My throat was dry. My hands shook so that water spilled out of my glass. I was going to appear on live TV on the evening news. Just before I had entered the studio, everything going on in my brain revolved around fleeing back down the stairs. Fortunately, I recalled past experiences and told myself that all I had to do was begin. After the broadcast, no one had noticed how terrified I was.

Going out to take photos is an exercise in insecurity. We have our doubts. We think: Will the pictures be any good? Am I ready and in shape? Am I good enough? Will people be upset if I take their picture? We don’t know. Maybe the photos will turn out bad today. That’s fine. It is just a matter of doing it anyway. We don’t even need to do our best; we just need to do what we are going to do. If we think that now we are going to do our best, we tense up often to no avail.

Few people can seem more relaxed, and at the same time more focused, than soccer play- ers while the national anthem is being played before an international match. They are actively working to reduce the tension within them so that it is lowered to a productive level. In the same way, the best pictures come from being relaxed coupled with a little bit of insecurity. We recognize the insecurity and discomfort, but we go ahead and do it anyway.

Most often, we underestimate our ability to handle stressful challenges. But if we back out, we will most likely be more stressed out than if we dare to do something. We can endure stressful situations better than we fear. It is the fear of them that we are not good at handling. So, take your foot off of the brake. Just do it!

Photo assignment:

Find someone to take a photo of that makes you feel a little insecure.
Take the picture anyway. For every time that you defy your insecurity, you will become braver.

How useful was this task for you on a scale of 1 to 6?

BOOK SUGGESTION: Do The Work by Stephen Pressfield, Seth Gordon


Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Helen Keller

Pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing.

David Letterman

If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area.

David Bowie