You need to embrace your limitations

You can’t grow effectively without them

This week, Creatomic is sponsored by Opkomend Creative, my startup where I help people to create marketing campaigns, do advertising the right way, generate content and grow their businesses. I’d love to work with you! — Jon

Vines are murderous motherfuckers

When I was growing up, we lived in a house with vines that covered the walls. The vines on the front of the house were beautiful and vibrant and green, and gave our home an atmosphere of magic.

They grew on frames, carefully tended to and kept, guided by loving hands that cut where they should be cut and blocked them where they needed to frame the windows.

The vines on the side wall were often forgotten. They weren’t as visible. They grew boundlessly and overwhelmed the house and damaged the wall and grew to entangle the roses that had once grown there, strangling them, and grew to block the windows and block the sun.

Without limitations, those vines smothered the beauty of the house and grew wild.

Limitations let us focus

Limitations are the most powerful tool in applying focus and allowing personal growth.

When we apply limitations, we foster creativity, we reduce distractions and we can allow for a more targeted approach — to anything. Limitations prevent us from getting too loose and wild with what we’re working on, they prevent us from losing sight of what we’re trying to achieve.

I don’t use a whole lot of fancy apps and fancy tools when I write. I limit myself to one screen, one app (Evernote) and one hour. I limit myself to only ever having 3 revision rounds of any of my work.

Those limitations force me to write and work in a certain way that is hugely productive.

You know what happens when I let myself go nuts? I write complete shit. When I remove my limitations the work I produce wouldn’t ever make the grade. It rambles. It loses focus. It goes on tangents. It sounds like Donald Trump’s stream of consciousness.

Limitations help us to focus and maintain productivity.

Limitations can also help us make decisions

Think about ordering take away. This is a really simple example, but it’s effective.

“Hey — there’s 17 restaurants we can order from, and they’re all around the same price, can you choose dinner?”

I can bet you that presented with a range of options like that, you’d feel a rising sense of panic. There’s no limits. It’s boundless. The options feel like they’re never ending, and in that ecstacy of choice you’re going to lose yourself in the agony of indecision.

“Hey, we can only eat dinner from restaurants in a 3 mile distance from home.”

“Hey, we can only eat dinner that is vegetarian, Indian, serves noodles, has chips for the kids…”

These limitations reduce that panic, don’t they?

Breaking limitations can also be powerful

Recognising your limits and working within them is the basis for completely breaking out of them, too. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu says, “Without failure, there can be no success.”

Limitations are a powerful tool. They’re powerful when they’re applied mindfully, when we respect them and when we buck and rage against them. They’re powerful when they’re The Ramones, knowing only 3 chords and wanting to be rockstars. They’re powerful and they can move mountains.

Think about how you can apply limitations in your life, or take advantage of the limitations you have to do. Who knows what I’m talking about? Reach out and let me know: jon@jonwestenberg.com