Climbing the Mountain of Success
Undoubtedly, every photographer wants to be successful, there's no question in that. But what the word "success" actually means for a photographer? Well, let's imagine that success is like climbing a mountain. The higher the peak is, the more effort you need to contribute to reach it. But the higher you get, the more successful you can be. This works for everyone; doesn't matter whether you're an amateur photographer taking snapshots for your family album with a cheap compact camera or a well-known professional and trusted expert of photography, you have your own mountain to climb.
Every photographer does want to be successful; but how many of them are really willing to pay the price? The way up can, and probably will be really hard for you if you really want to get as high as you can. There are many reasons for that; some of them are: money, jealousy and other's people will for success, etc. And than you have your own things that can make it harder for you like your trends, market considerations, current needs and responsibilities and so on. So no matter how hard you try to reach your goal and how much you are ready to pay for it, you will always be pushed one step down for every few steps you climb up.
Another great question is: Should you adjust? Let's say, you like to take pictures of old matchboxes, but no one likes them... Does it mean that you are not climbing higher? You can adjust to get some recognition, give up what you like just to get higher ranks in contests or to sell some more of your work... But is it worth it? Will you agree to shoot old oil paintings instead of your favorite street photography just for the money? Will you give up your favorite activities, and instead spend that time calling to people who might (a very little chance) be willing to pay you table scraps for your best pictures? How many difficulties can you take and how many good things can you sacrifice for your goal?
There are many difficult questions and many easy ones. The main thing is not to stay where you are, but constantly climb higher. If you really love photography you will do exactly that, not business or politics, low or high level. The worst thing that can happen is that when a person understands that he or she doesn't have what it takes or not ready to pay the price to climb further up, they give up and quit. You can then hear them saying: "I have no talent", "I have had enough", "I never win", "My work don't sell", etc. Never give up! There is always another mountain for anyone to climb.
That second mountain you can climb is about your own self-fulfillment. It is about learning and satisfaction, friendship and happiness. The more you learn, the more you are satisfied with your own work, thus the further up you climb. Probably the best thing about this mountain is that you can do only what you really want to do. You can take pictures of those matchboxes for the rest of your life, and if you put effort and love in it, eventually you will get recognition. If you put something in your work, no matter what it is, there are people who can get something out of it.
So remember, it doesn't matter what places you get on contests or how much money you get for your work. What does matter is your love for photography. Just climb up the mountain! Choose your own paces, companions and methods - it's all up to you. And the higher up you get, the more beautiful will the view be. And remember, nothing and no one can stop you, except for your own self. So again, never give up!