Is there some evil time stealing goblin hiding out in our crawl space? Or a dollar guzzling ghoul up in the attic?
When school got out this last summer I was celebrating my break from taxi driving- 2hours back in my day guys-2 hours! I loved being home, with no plans, and enjoying my little ones. Yet, I still couldn’t get near enough done in my day. In fact, I was getting less done, than when I was driving everyone around for school. What was wrong with me?
I mean who doesn’t wish they had more time or money? Apparently I could use a double dose of each. Buuuuut…what if limited resources are what drive us to be better?
Necessity is the mother of invention
The year is 1886, late in the evening Josephine Cochrane was enjoying the triumph of holding yet another successful dinner party. She loved entertaining, except one thing. Finding her dishes had, once again, been chipped in the hand washing process. This time, instead of putting up with it, she decided to invent her own mechanical dish washing apparatus. It turned out so well her friends were asking for one, then friends and friends. Eventually she won recognition at the world fair.
How did this all happen? She had a problem and decided she was going to be part of the solution. And what a wonderful solution, one we still benefit from a century later!
Discomfort spurs us to be creative and find new solutions in our lives. If we like how life is going there’s no point in exerting effort to change anything. So I’m going to be weird and declare that limitations or limited resources are a very good thing.
What is a limitation?
According to Dictionary.com a limitation is: restrictive weakness; lack of capacity; inability; a defect or failing; something that holds you back.
Everyone has limitations—everyone. It’s part of life. I like to view mine as a tool to learn from. Viewing them as such helps me overcome them. How do we do that?
When you have a problem, be as specific as possible, put as many annoying details in as you can. Don’t just say, ‘I can’t afford milk’. Instead state, ‘I only have $30 in which to get diapers, bread, milk and medicine.’ See how more info helps you think through more possible solutions? Now my brain is going, okay google for deals, what’s coupons.com got for me-where can I search for answers. Details set you up to be proactive, while saying ‘I can’t’ encourages you to sit on the couch.
Look for themes
Being specific helps our brains identify patterns while abstraction hinders our abilities to make connections. Connections lead to creative answers, which is our end game. Creative answers=win!
If I do see a pattern in my limitations, it’s likely stemming from the same problem. By pin pointing the root cause I can take care of more than one issue at a time!
Going through this process gives focus and allows huge improvement into your life. It’s easy to say we need a bigger budget or our financial life is a mess, but it doesn’t give our brains much to work with. Our brains want to solve problems, they want to create solutions. Focusing on specifics directs our thoughts to more manageable material.
Break it down
Many times our solution is making many small changes or cuts. I wrote “How You Become Great at Anything”, with this very thing in mind. Doing small things consistently reaps huge benefits. Breaking the weakness down to its absolute core makes it more workable and more likely to overcome it successfully.
This is essential. I cannot stress this point enough, positivity is essential. If you don’t think you’ll succeed why would you even try? If I’m complaining-I guarantee my butt is on the couch. Optimism is how we push through the hard times.
*If you struggle with depression (or similar issues) please know you are not alone! My heart goes out to you. I struggle with my own phantom mental illness. It especially affects my ability to write. Find a good friend you can talk to on the hard days and if religious have frequent heart to heart’s with the Lord. I’ll talk more on the effects of mental illness and creativity in the coming weeks. Just hang in there—you’re awesome!
I love that last part of the quote. ‘Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.’ I fully agree with that sentiment. If you don’t, go watch ratatouille, note what happens to Anton Eago and when he’s happiest. The point is, creativity and positivity help us achieve. They help us become the amazing people we are capable of being.
Nothing can hold us back, nothing! If we give ourselves the power to work and create; if we go with our guts and stop worrying about how others view us or worse worry about failure; that is the magic moment when we fly. That is the power of the one, and you have it inside you right now. So clear your head of doubt and go rock it, let the world know that you are here, and that you are pretty dang awesome!
This is the second installment of the creativity series. You can catch the first post here. Stay tuned for the second half of how to transform limitations into opportunities, coming next week.