Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them – Albert Einstein
In the book ‘Manage your day-to-day‘, Scott McDowell writes (in reference to creative limitations and constraints) “Whether or not they’re created by an outside client, or you yourself; a set of limitations is often the catalyst that sets creativity free”.
I love that.
Eye of the beholder
Limits, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder; barriers to some, launch pads to greater creativity for others.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that some of the greatest inventions and accomplishments of our lifetime have become reality because of limitations.
Masterpieces in movies and music have been created with low budgets and limited resources. Conversely, millions of dollars have been invested on technologically fantastic products that are less inspiring because the details were dialed down to awe-inspiring minutia that is impressive for a minute, and just as quickly forgotten.
I’ve been at my best because of the limits that put me there
In my life, my best artwork was done when all I had was a sheet of paper and a cheap #2 pencil. Some of my best music was recorded on a Tascam 8-track, in a bedroom with a single microphone, a guitar, bass, and a drum machine. The limitations of the equipment I had available made me dig in and get more creative.
One tricky thing about limits is that they can sometimes be seen as a stopping point, a brick wall that stands in our way, or just a lazy excuse. I’ll admit, the last one has been common in my own life.
Test the limits
Maybe limits are put into our lives to test us, to find out how badly we want something, to make us dig deep into our creativity and drive, to give us something to go beyond. When we go beyond, we become better, we become great, and hopefully, we inspire someone else to do the same.