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Love your Limitations

Love your Limitations

Written By Ed Hodges 

When Life Gives You Lemons… 

Knowing your limits is a strength, not a weakness. That’s some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. Having worked in the creative space for 10 years, I’m convinced that limitation is the key to creativity. Innovation comes not when we have the resources to make it happen but because limitations drive us to find more creative solutions to the problems we’re facing.  

There’s so much we can learn from the last 18 months. If the restrictions of the last year have taught us anything, it’s that our city and our county are bursting with creativity and innovation! You don’t have to look far to see the schools, businesses and charities breaking new ground in the way they operate and serve their customers and clients. In my own sphere of leadership as a Pastor, I’ve loved watching the way churches and faith groups right across Exeter rapidly developed online church services and programmes to alleviate food poverty and meet the needs of their local communities.  

Far from being hampered by the restrictions of successive lockdowns, those limitations provided the perfect breeding ground for out of the box ideas and responses. Now that we’re beginning to look at this pandemic in the rear-view mirror, (fingers crossed) can we start to appreciate the things we learnt through it? 

Rather than feeling frustrated by the things we feel are holding us back, it’s time to learn to love our limitations as things that can enhance our creativity and create innovation. 

My kids are a huge fan of the classic book: ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ by Michael Rosen. “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it. Oh no. We’ve got to go through it!” has become a kind of mantra in our house. Every time I hear it, I’m reminded that there’s creativity to be found through adversity rather than despite it.  

Creative industries have known this reality and exploited it long before it was fashionable in business. The size constraints of a page, the short length of an ad and even the attention span of an audience are limitations that force us to find increasingly creative solutions. Because the real enemy of creativity is not scarcity or necessity, it’s the fear of failure. That fear will naturally paralyze our ability to see creative solutions to the challenges in front of us. The real question is whether, in a post-Covid world of possibilities, we can retrain our brains to embrace the things which challenge us as opportunities to innovate.  

Whether you manage a business, serve customers, teach students; learn to love the things that limit you. They might just be the key to your success. 

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