For someone who loves snapping pictures as much as I do, it took me a long time to discover what the iPhone's "live photos" were good for.
Sometimes when I'm trying to figure something out, particularly something mechanical or having to do with computer software, I can get tunnel vision. I get fixated on a single aspect of whatever challenge is in front of me. I stop noticing other aspects of the problem, other factors that might be at play.
If I'm not being mindful and let the struggle get an emotional foothold, some strange aspect of my mental process can actually push me to keep trying the same thing that already wasn't working, which of course compounds the frustration and gets me nowhere. It's quite a thing to witness.
While the issue of Live Photos was rather small and I wouldn't say it ever really got to me, it still always bugged me that I couldn't tell what they were for. What's the point of a "photo" that's actually one and a half seconds of video? I tinkered around with it (or thought I did) but couldn't figure it out.
Then one day I ran across a Reddit post where someone offhandedly mentioned how, if you swipe up on a live photo while viewing it in the Camera Roll, you can transform it into a loop, a bouncing GIF, or a long-exposure. So the next thing I wanted to do was take Samson up to one of our favorite places to try it out.
It was so simple. Of course, I hadn't tried it because there's an Edit option when you view photos in the Camera Roll, so part of my brain just assumed any answer would have to lie behind that door, and didn't consider poking around with other commands that aren't prompted.
It's a lot of fun to mess with. Not quite as good as the real thing when it comes to long exposures, but still a neat feature.
Not every option--not even the best option--is always made straightforward. That's a lesson I've learned to apply well in counseling, but can still trip me up when I'm messing with an app or computer program.
The trick for me when I notice I am getting frustrated and feeling lost is to sit back, tell my critical voice to hush up, and ask myself what I haven't looked at yet and what I may have assumed or dismissed too easily or too early. Once I got over the impulse to judge that struggle with perspective, I found that there's actually a lot of comfort in the idea that simple answers abound to those who are curious enough to find them.
So, what haven't you tried?
Mike Ensley is a nationally board-certified professional counselor in Loveland, CO.