Im not sure “traction” is the best word for it, but I have recently observed a certain very interesting phenomena in my life that I believe is a true principle which can be intentionally exploited, for now I am calling it “Traction”. I’m sure its been around since the beginning of time, but I have alone really started to notice how powerful it is recently.

Essentially the concept is that a self contained force is useless to an individual until it comes in contact with another force, and when those 2 forces combine, there is synergy.

An example in physics would be a spinning wheel, which is useless until it comes in contact with another force, like the ground. Only when it is in contact with another surface can it propel an object forward, otherwise it is just spinning in circles.

More specifically, what I am seeing is that I have certain skill sets and talents that are essentially useless to me until another person comes along and inputs. My study of music is a good example, while I can read & play basic music, I feel very limited creativity wise until I meet up with my music instructor for a lesson. It isn’t so much that he teaches me something (which he does), it is that we are able to combine our ideas to come up with something that either of us would not have thought of otherwise.

This also isn’t one directional either, while my instructor knows tons more than me, he is also relatively a humble guy, and there are many times where he learns something from me, as limited as my knowledge of music is. We both really click during lessons and it is amazing to me this super creative burst only happens at lessons. I have also noticed this in other activities as well, 3D design, business planning, writing articles or books, & problem solving. On the other hand, I find that I can do some things very well alone, like video production, exercise, reading, etc where I know other people who can only do such things with someone else.

It also appears that there are very different results based on the personality type and knowledge of the person I am working with, often the more interesting results coming from people who are more different.

In a profession where many photographers tend to want to keep secrets to themselves, what I am learning is that the best way to grow is to find other photographers I admire and collaborate with them, even if I am not really sure what the collaboration will be. Once you discuss it, you will figure out pretty quick what it is. Interestingly, I have, can and expect to learn from photographers of all levels, including pure beginners.

Something that has helped me recently when I collaborate with the intention of finding “traction” is I ask the person what their biggest problems or hurdles are, to explain them in great detail (even taking notes) and then explaining what I would do in that situation. Almost always, that person then returns the same. I’ve been having some very positive experiences with this.

Its a really strange concept for me that I havent been able to put my finger on, but I know it is there and a very real thing.