The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed.
As creative individuals and humans in general, we have an inherent need to create from of our limitations. Limitations contain both a problem and solution. Ironically, limitations become more like parameters that we work with or transform into something new with its own set of new problems and solutions.
I like to think of Macgyver, who would use objects from his environment to invent a way out of the situation or find a solution. A more practical example is how people like to change their hair style. We don’t destroy our hair to make it the way we want, we instead work with what we have, we transform it by cutting, styling, coloring, etc…
Limitations also show us the ways in which we are unique by providing boundaries that define who we are which become our mission. That’s why when I start on branding projects for clients, I like to figure out what makes customers come to their company and not someone else’s.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear very general descriptions like “We’re the best company in the world!” “We have the best selection!” That’s great!…But so does everyone else apparently. Many times, business owners find it easier to use generic statements as slogans for their company or products to get around having to face their limitations.
The goal for me here is to find exactly WHAT or WHY is the client the best in the business, and when there is nothing that really stands out, we take the negatives and turn them into positives. I encourage clients to get dirty and start digging through what they think are limitations, because that’s where the gold is.
The point is that without limitations, everything would be one big blob of well…everything else, but when used correctly, limitations are like a boulder that instead of being an obstacle that we try to push away from our path, we climb on top of it to see the view beyond it. The way to creatively deal with limitations is to perceive them in a different way. This is why you need a creative friend or partner in your corner.
Now here is a parkour video as an inspiring example of creativity thriving in limitations: