Business Is Better When You Take It Off Automatic

I recently heard an interesting discussion between a professional photographer and a keen amateur. The amateur asked the professional why people should invest in expensive photographic equipment when they could take really good photos on their phones. The photographer acknowledged that you can take good photos on a mobile phone, but added “You’ll get even better results if you take it off the automatic settings.” That started me thinking.

These days digital cameras have a huge array of settings, but many people just use the basic, automatic options. The same applies to the cameras in our phones. And I think the same applies to our lives – things are better when we take our lives and businesses off automatic. Read on to find out what I mean by this.

Taking your business or your life off automatic is about using the equipment you have at your disposal to the full, rather than relying on someone else’s settings. Someone else has decided what settings they think you should use on your camera, in order to take good photos. But their idea of the best level of brightness or contrast might be different from yours.

Are you using someone else’s settings for your life and your business? Are you doing something because everyone else does the same thing, in the same way? Or can you adjust the settings to allow you to do things differently? Do you make decisions for yourself, or follow the crowd and take the easier options?

Why should you take your life off automatic?

Some people are very happy living a life, or running a business, on automatic. For some people, this is the best option. However, if you want to become more effective in your job, you need to look at your settings. If you do the same thing all the time – the same tasks every week or every month – you can end up on auto pilot. You’ll do what you do without really noticing it. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But actually, living life on autopilot means that you might stop spotting mistakes that you make or you may miss more efficient ways of doing something. In both your career and your business it is best to look at ways of standing out from the crowd, if you want that promotion or that new client. If you’re doing the same thing as everyone else, your boss and your potential clients won’t be able to distinguish between you and your competitors.

So can I encourage you to look at your life and your business? Are you stuck on automatic, using someone else’s settings?

Here are three things you can do, to take your life and your business off automatic:

  1. Take a break. Get up from your desk and take a walk; go outside and get some fresh air. Change your outlook and you’ll get a different perspective
  2. Change your view. Look at a peaceful view so that you don’t have to process extra information. This will allow you to think more clearly.
  3. Share your learning. Think about what you’ve just done, what decisions you’ve made or what you’ve just learned. Then think about who you can share it with. Sharing the learning helps to embed it and prevents other people from making the same mistakes.


Living life and running a business on automatic can give you good results. But if you really want to achieve more, live a really fulfilled life and run a very successful business, you need to do things differently. Use your own settings, and see how much more you can achieve.

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