Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Co-operating with the inevitable

click photo to enlarge
"If at first you don't succeed - give up!"
anonymous modified proverbial saying

Perseverance, they say, is one of the main qualities that produces success. Intelligence, education (not the same as intelligence), aptitude, money, connections and other desirable attributes are all important, but if you haven't got perseverance then there's a good chance you won't achieve your goals. Moreover, if you do have perseverance but are lacking one or more of those other qualities then you may well succeed anyway. I think that's something that many people learn in life. And just as many don't. They are the people who follow the counsel quoted above.

Perseverance can be summed up in a home-spun sort of way in the proverbial saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again." That's sound advice, and following it can take people a long way. However, there comes a time when perseverance is pointless because you can clearly see that no good consequences will come from it. In these instances the modification of the saying proposed by W.C. Fields has a lot to recommend it: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again. Then give up. No use being a damned fool about it."

A variation on this kind of advice that I've always liked says that sometimes it's wise to "co-operate with the inevitable." In other words, don't persevere where success is clearly unattainable: if the alternative is in some way satisfactory, just go with it. It was this kind of thinking that produced today's photograph. I'd gone out on an afternoon that the weather forecasters promised would be "changeable". I expected squally showers alternating with periods of sun with dramatic clouds. Well, I got about thirty minutes of that. Then, as I sat in the car park in the centre of the village of Folkingham a squall turned into a spell of prolonged heavy rain. After about forty minutes I said to myself, "It's time, Tony, to co-operate with the inevitable." So I did, took this photograph of the rain through my windscreen, then drove home. And, yes, as I turned into the road leading to my house, the sun made an appearance.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 40mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/40 sec
ISO: 360
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On