What the Three Stooges Taught Me that Changed My Perspective

We need to stop shopping for lightning bolts. The way out of our paralysis is simpler than that: It’s about thinking small and thinking gradual… Amazingly, it was the Three Stooges who first codified this management technique: “Slowly I turned . . . step by step . . . inch by inch . . .” It worked for them, and it can work for us.”

Many days though, I forget this myself and lose patience when things are not speeding along in the direction I want to go. I have several pounds to go, but just as I think when on a long run, I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other and take it one pound at a time, or one mile at a time. Gradual, slow, change will get me to the end of the marathon.

I’ve been working on being awesome again, but I partially accepted that when I said I was going to be awesome, it was going to hit me like a lightening bolt and I’d be cured. Hey, we all make a few mental mistakes here and there. What I’ve been deep in thought about this past week has been what small steps I can take to rebuild my presence and fulfill my passions.

Speaking of passions, they’ve changed over the past several years. Looking back, I notice a gradual desire to move on from portrait and wedding photography. I am thankful for all that it has brought me, but when it became about making more and more money, I knew I needed to find a pathway out.

Slow, gradual changes to my business have made this exit more palatable. I’ve limited my availability, stopped accepting every type of session or event, and slowly winded down my meetings, sessions, and marketing. I appreciate all that this business has brought me, especially the funding to upgrade all of my equipment, learn an enormous amount about photographing people, and well, buying a car in cash a few years back. I achieved my goals, and it’s time to move on. Photography isn’t dead to me, I’ll probably still shoot casting-calls, but being in business for others has faded.

You can apply this method financially, too. Getting rich slowly is the only path that most of us have to follow. Every month, saving a little more, adds up to a lot over a lifetime. We’ve worked our way through and out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in student, car, or mortgage loan debt; slowly, dollar by dollar. We’ve been made fun of for lowering our living expenses, but it has opened up so much more freedom than we’ve ever had before. Inch by inch…

What I want to do for others is share my experiences, good and bad, and hope that it brightens up someone’s day or helps them find a way to their own passions, or unearths their personal talents. Running, writing, and self portraits are very therapeutic for me. Okay, I’m an avid non-fiction reader, too. These passions help me understand more about myself, which in turn helps me understand more about others.

I’ve been reading Po Bronsons What Should I Do with My Life? and all of those who have found their place in life did it slowly. It didn’t just fall in their lap, but their destiny arrived over time, when they were ready for it after making changes throughout their life.

Gradually over the rest of this year, of which I cannot believe is almost half over already, I will be slowly turning… step by step… inch by inch… post by post… photo by photo… run by run… into the adult I want to be.

So, when you’re thinking about changing your life, lifestyle, or reaching for your goals… reconsider a new way, the non-American way of slow, gradual changes. Step by step… inch by inch… [insert your passion here]