Embracing constraints

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I’ve always thought constraints were negative. After all, they tend to speak lack. A constraint can feel like a roadblock to progress. A reason to stop, to chuck the towel in.

In Whitney Johnson’s podcast episode titled, Embracing Constraints, she talks about how constraints can actually help us. They can be a catalyst for doing better, more creative work.

To change our perspective on constraints, she recommends reframing how we speak to them. Instead of saying “I can’t because…”,
try saying “I can, if…”

In the podcast, Whitney shared this wonderful story.

“In 1954, an editor at Houghton Mifflin read the now-famous article “Why Johnny Can’t Read”, concerned, he challenged one of his friends: “Take 225 unique words every six-year-old knows and “write me a story they can’t put down.” It took a year and a half and at one point, he was so discouraged, he almost gave up. But when Theodore Geissel published The Cat in the Hat in 1957, it was an instant hit.”

What’s your constraint?

Is it …
not enough time,
not enough space
or feeling closed in by too many rules?
Is it a lack of perceived talent,
not enough buy-in
or perhaps it’s feeling insecure or shy?

How would reframing that constraint change your next move?


3 thoughts on “Embracing constraints

  1. Pingback: Rookie Smarts

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