Chapter 1, Task 1
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Task 43 – Blow away your worries

Task 43

Blow away your worries

The Camera Cure - task 43
“Aren’t you afraid of pirates, storms and bad weather?” When I talk about my sailing trip around the world, these questions pop up. I answer that I am, but when I am in the middle of sailing, I only concentrate on the job at hand. The storms are less scary than my worries about them are. A focus on what you can actually do in the moment takes away attention from the worries. Concentration is the most important tool both behind a camera and in a sailboat. It contributes to getting better pictures, gets you into harbor safely and keeps your worries at bay. We have defenses against fear but not against anxiety. Fear can mobilize, worries paralyze.
The Caribbean, 2013. Photo: Torkil Færø



My father told me that most worries were unnecessary. That is probably a major reason why I have worried so little. It is rather being carefree that has occasionally got me into trouble. What kind of attitudes have your parents given you? Maybe my father was too carefree? The stomach pains he struggled with turned out to be terminal cancer. At the doctor’s office, I get the impression that those who are the sickest are the ones who are the most worried – and the people who are too carefree. Both of these states hinder the promotion of health.

Being a little concerned is useful. Our worried ancestors survived. The worries of making a mistake keep me sharp at the emergency room. When is the tricky patient going to show up, the one who has a lifethreatening disease with few or unusual symptoms? Is it smart to let a seven-year old go out in city traffic on a bike? Such small, healthy concerns lead to planning and we change our behavior towards what is wiser to do. So, it is not these that I would want to get rid of.

An unhealthy worry is overriding and excessive. It leads to negative imagination and paral- ysis, instead of constructive planning. Many people end up not really living their lives.

Test your worries. Ask yourself: Do I imagine something that is going to happen with great probability? Can my worries prevent it? If the answer is no to one of them, blow both worries out of your mind. Set aside an hour a week, for example, to go through your worries and find a solution. Normally, that should be enough.

To be worried is to be paralyzed about something you fear is going to happen. If the worry mobilizes you, then it is called planning.

Are you plagued by worries? Do you know someone who is, or someone who isn’t? What kind of impact does this have on their lives and surroundings?

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


Find peace in the moment

If you are able to worry while you take pictures, then you have probably not been attentive in the moment. Worries prevent you from performing in the here and now because your thoughts are firmly planted in the future. However, normally the camera is a tool that stops any escape from reality, anchoring you in the present moment.

Even without the camera you are also able to bring your thoughts into the present moment. Look around yourself, study what you see. Close your eyes and bring forward the picture you just saw in your mind’s eye. Listen to sounds. How many can you identify? When your attention is on external sensory impressions you keep your worries at a distance. As soon as you notice that your worries are getting the upper hand, you can choose to do this exercise instead. Even tough American soldiers do breathing exercises before combat. That is how they are able to rest in the moment instead of being overwhelmed by what lies ahead of them.

Worries take us away from the moment, but on the other hand focusing on the moment takes us away from our worries. It is possible to be worried before you venture out with a camera, but once you have started it is hard to maintain this feeling in the same way that unease before a storm is replaced by action once the wind begins to blow.

The biggest obstacle for taking good pictures is perhaps the worry that they won’t be good enough. As photographers we learn to accept this worry and then keep it a manageable level. We will never get rid of it completely.


Just take the pictures that you want to take. Notice how nearly impossible it is to let your thoughts revolve around worries as you concentrate on taking good pictures.

On a scale of 1 to 6, how useful was this task for you?:

BOOK SUGGESTION: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

One thing is to be concerned about a problem and find ways to solve it. But worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

Bear Heart

Difficult times have helped me to under- stand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.

Karen Blixen

Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.

Dale Carnegie