Are you a multiplier or diminisher?

Last year was a proud moment in my five year young career. I got selected for the talents programme of my company. This programme, called “Future Leaders”, prepares high potentials to be leaders. Leaders of people, but also a leader for yourself. Part of the programme was a workshop entitled: “Are you a Multiplier or Diminisher?”.

So called “multipliers” increase other people’s capabilities. The “diminisher” will prevent others to reach their highest potential. Diminishing people’s capabilities is something we all did at one point, most of the time without us knowing that we do it. If, for example, you help a person that you think is in need, there is a possibility that you take away a chance for that person to fail and therefore learn? Another example of limiting a persons potential, is by giving this person not enough (or too much) responsibility. Feeling not involved (or under too much pressure), this person does not feel encouraged to use his or hers capabilities to the maximum.

It is obviously better to multiply other people’s capabilities. By giving them freedom of speech they feel trusted to speak up and say wise or brave words. Or sometimes limiting what people are allowed to say will let them think more before they speak. Every person needs a different approach to reach their full potential. Some need a save environment with space for error, and others need high pressure and a lot of responsibility to perform well. It takes a leader to listen to his or her team and find out what team member need what approach.

I am sure we all make mistakes and behaved like “diminishers” once. I think I have given some people too much freedom, people with a great sense of responsibility. Thinking this would lift their performance, their sense of responsibility drove them to overload themselves with work and get worn out. In other occasions I might have prevented people from making mistakes, while they needed to fail to learn effectively.

But it is not only other people’s talent you can diminish or multiply. I think all people are their own “multiplier” or “diminisher” in a way. I remember when I received the message that I was selected as a “Future Leader”, questions crossed my mind: “Why am I being selected? What are the selection criteria? I guess not too strict, since I am selected“. I doubted myself. And doubting your own talents blocks your path to growth.

Then, after acknowledging my talents, a second phase of insecurity started: ” Okay, so I am a talent. Now I can’t make mistakes and am not allowed to fail“. Diminishing myself again. It was only after accepting my faults and talents, that my growth and ambition multiplied. I saw that everybody has insecurities. This helped me to grant myself the rights to have them as well, and to make my own mistakes in order to learn. And sure, I still need to adjust to being a “talent” and acting on the foreground, but I know my strengths and opportunities, and I know how to multiply them.

And it is not only in my professional life that there are “multipliers” and “diminishers”. Doubting yourself, believing in yourself and having (in)securities is part of who and what you are. In my private life, as a photographer I behave like in my professional life. I can’t count the times that I diminished my photography skills because I got cranky that my shots weren’t as good as those of other photographers. And I also multiply my know-how of photography by blogging, practising, and having fun with my hobby.

Below are five photos that I have taken a while back. All these shots never made it online, because they just weren’t good enough. Today I decided not to diminish these pictures, but to show them and find potential!

Photo 1: Sleepers

The idea of the picture below was the pattern of the sleepers. But the light wasn’t great and the picture just wasn’t interesting. But it has potential! Maybe a different angle, better focus, and other crop and this photo will tell a story of sleepers not being used anymore and waiting for a new destination.


Not the best light, I did not focus on the right spot, and the crop and angle could be better.

Photo 2: The station

The train station called “Blaak” in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, is a modern station with great architectural designs. The photo of this station below was diminished, because I liked the light and the lines, but it needed a stage. A larger aperture and using this platform  as background for a portrait photo, and this would have been a good shot!

Blaak Trainstation

I took my camera with me a lot, and a lot of photos did not make it to my website.

Photo 3: Just not good enough

Another photo that deserved more, is the one beneath. It was early, and I was not awake yet, so a bit sleepy I took this photo. I remember, after taking this photo, I looked at my camera and thought “Hmm, just not good enough“. Discouraged I walked back to my car and drove off. The scene is beautiful, and the weather conditions likewise! A picture that I decided to share after all, because it represents those early mornings.

Just not good enough

“That is not good enough” is what crossed my mind after taking this photo.

Photo 4: Inspired by the road

Or how about the photo up next? I had an alternative in mind. The rain danced in front of my car headlights, while driving home. A lovely scene to capture. But in my mind, this photo was not special enough and I decided to reject it. But it tells the story of a rainy day, doesn’t it?

Inspired by the road

Inspired by the road, as the light and rain play together.

Photo 5: Minimalism

The final image is significant to me. I took it over a year and a half ago, and I have looked at it a couple of times ever since. The reason I never shared it with anyone? Because I think nobody would like it. This is probably my main diminishing behaviour. What others think is really important to me, but who do I photograph for? For other people, or for me? Do others really need to like my photos, or do I need to like them? I like this picture, because it is minimal and tells a slightly depressing story. A story, a feeling, an image, just for me. It represents the pressure I feel to perform, the pressure I feel to keep up my persona, and the fight for my own little world.


A dull day at dawn. Even the grass was grey. A minimal photo I thought nobody would appreciate.

Thank you for reading! Tell me, do you diminish your own capabilities? If you do, from now on, start multiplying them!

Kind regards,



  1. Great post, Tieme! I actually like your “diminished” pics just fine as they are, especially # 1, 3 and 4 – I think their very good!
    As for your question – I am most definitely a diminisher, and your post showed me (once again) that I start to be a multiplyer!

    • Hi Kiki!

      As usual: thank you! I always appreciate your comments. I guess some pictures need a story, others tell a story. But no matter in which category a picture fits, I need them to be as good as possible. And at the time I felt neither picture was good enough. I am glad you like them 🙂

      Multiplying doesn’t mean that you should be positive all the time, but that you need to do anything necessary to grow. Even if that means stop growing to gain some energy for your next growth spurt 🙂

      I am sure you enable yourself and others very well already. Being do dedicated to delivering quality blogs brings some capabilities!

      Warm regards,

      • I really like “…if that means stop growing to gain some energy…” Very true!

        • Thank you 🙂 Don’t they say: Life is a marathon not a sprint? Whoever “they” might be 😉

          Almost Friday and than weeeeekend! 🙂


  2. It seems to be a very fine line sometimes between multiplying and diminishing. When do you help or encourage someone and when do you leave them to their own challenges. I would think we are all a bit of both at times

    • Absolutely right Joan! And thank you for pointing that out.

      We are both at certain times, even if it is because everybody needs a different approach and you can’t change and readjust all the time.

      It depends from person to person how you can help them. And it depends from day to day how you can help yourself. As long as you are aware of that, you’ll be fine 😉

      Thank you for leaving your thoughts and have a wonderful day!


  3. I suppose that most people that are diminishers don’t do it on purpose (that’s what I want to believe). I’ve never really heard about these terms, but it was an interesting read. I quite like your pictures, it tells a story, it’s all that matters. Sometimes, the best pictures are not the flawless ones, what’s important is what you want to tell 🙂 Have a nice day

    • Hi!

      I am sharing your beliefs 🙂 I have seen quite some situations in which people wanted to help others by doing something for them, instead of helping them to solve their problem themselves. All the best intentions, but not always the best approach.

      Thank you for your kind words about my pictures. I tell others all the time: an interesting picture is more important than a technically correct one. However, being a techy, this is a challenge for me 😉

      Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

      Warm regards,

  4. Great thoughts and meaningful application to your art. We are often our own worst critics and impediments to success. I especially like your photograph: Sleepers.

    • Thank you very much for those kind words and your time! We are our own worst critics indeed. This helps us to improve, however can work blocking as well.

      Thank you 🙂

      Have a great Friday and weekend ahead!


  5. lord only knows i’ve been a diminisher when it regards myself, work art life — each feeding into the other into a downward spiral. “Multiplying doesn’t mean that you should be positive all the time, but that you need to do anything necessary to grow.” is a great way to put it. One way I can view my mental scripts is a perfectionist with low self-esteem (‘it has to be perfect, but since that is impossible, why even try’), or someone who is has both a fear of failure and a fear of success (which will lead to future failures). Acting with a fear-based view is a major obstacle for a lot of people I think. Fear of other people’s success can lead to people to consciously and subconsciously be diminishers toward others — be it fear the other person will take his or her job or become “better” and leave the relationship.

    One facet of my blog has been being a therapeutic tool to address this issue with me. I have had to overcome a lot of fear to put my poems, photographs, etc out there for others to see. The supportive community here at WordPress has allowed me the “space” to critique my own work in a way that helps me improve while continuing to put my efforts out there into the world.

    The last photograph really does resonate with me. I have an affinity for minimalism, allowing the bold or subtle contrasts to work more like a painting than photograph (if that makes sense). Your photograph is an excellent example of this, resonating more on the shifts in color and lines than on the actual objects of the photo. In this way, maybe, it why I often will find a “dull day” more beautiful or powerful than a spectacular day.

    • Hi Elusive Trope!

      Thank you very much for your open response! It seems that your vision and behaviour towards yourself isn’t just diminishing, but truly destructive!

      Obviously I can’t say that I can relate to your situation, however I do believe many of us (or all of us?) know how it feels to be insecure.

      For me being selected for the talents programme was a strange moment. I didn’t feel like I am a talent, and being considered one made me more insecure and put more pressure on me. I too am a perfectionist, so I already pressured myself enough, and this just added up.

      For me the win was, like you, when I started to talk about it. I found out that so many people were suffering from this (especially perfectionist s/talents)! This was comforting.

      I agree that the WordPress community is a warm community. I have read some speculations that the reason can be found in the male/female ratio. Apparently women are more represented on WordPress than men. And somehow the female gender is more generous than us men 😉

      Writing is very therapeutic, not as much as photography for me though.

      Again, thank you very much for your open comment. I truly appreciate that and believe you have touched many people with your blog. Bringing hope to some lives.

      Have a brilliant weekend ahead! I hope you’ll have the strength to complete your journey and have a great time during the holidays (which are difficult days for many).

      Warmest regards and all the best,

      • Thanks. I would add that the process of writing is less therapeutic for me than photography because I put more expectations on myself as a writer, an art form I have embraced since childhood, than photography, which is something I only very recently started to take seriously.

        By saying writing is less therapeutic for me I mean there is a greater struggle with many of “issues” that manifest themselves with my writing. Whereas with photography, I can enjoy a nice walk and if some of the photos turn out well, that’s cool.

        • Thank you for the reply. I think I can relate to that, however vice versa. To me photography is so important, something I need to do right.

          I am glad you can enjoy photography as a relaxing hobby. I hope this will remain like that.

          Have a great weekend!

          Kind regards,

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