Know Your Limitations

July 30th, 2010

The Star I drew for my review of Draw me a Star over at the World's Strongest Librarian. Click on the star to read it.

I was watching a video by Youngme Moon whose book “Different” I highly recommend. She created an anti-creativity checklist.

#2 on her list of things to do in order to NOT be creative was to “know your limitations.”


I don’t know why there’s such a kneejerk reaction to the phrase “know your limitations”.  I mean seriously.  Look: when I was a little boy, my mom told me that I could do anything I wanted and could be anything I wanted to be.

Sure that’s a nice thing to tell a kid, but we all know it’s BS.  We DO have limitations.

I personally LOVE the phrase “know your limitations”.


Because while most people are whining about the word “limitation,” I focus on the word “know”.

That’s right.  We have to KNOW our limitations.

What are my limitations?

That’s just the thing. I don’t know.

I have to test them to know them.

For example, this year I decided to devote myself to the theme of creativity.  So, I thought I’d give drawing a chance.

For years, I’ve been told that I cannot express myself through art.  Who told me that?  I did when I was in the 6th grade. I was one of the worst kids in art class.  I could blame my art teacher (blaming teachers and railing against education is a typical excuse people make).  But as far a I recall Mr. Hall never said anything to me.  It was all me.

The fact is that drawing is real hard for me.

But did that mean I can’t express myself artistically, does it?

So, I’ve been doing some drawing. And guess what? I’m satisfied with my output.

Am I going to be a professional artist? Probably not.  But I do know one limitation.  I just don’t have natural talent for drawing.  But I took that to mean I cannot express myself artistically.  Bad assumption.

So, I’ll keep testing this one to see where it takes me.

I don’t know my limits yet.  But I’m sure as hell going to find out.

And you should too.

Is there anything you think you can’t do?  Well, test it out. Find out if you REALLY can’t do it.

Test your assumptions about yourself.

Go out there and KNOW your limitations.

To get your going, here is that aforementioned anti-creativity checklist by Youngme Moon.


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