Limits in Creativity make for Uniqueness

Dustin over at Lifehack has had two interesting posts about Limits and Creativity. They have been so interesting that I have had to comment on them. Please read them first if you can by clicking the link above. I’ll do my best to give a general synopsis though.

Maybe I can best explain Dustin’s idea by stating his conclusion.

So many people ignore their creative urges, feeling that they are too limited to “really” be creative – the lack experience, time, training, money, whatever. So I want to rethink our relationship with limits, to recognize that the people who are most creative are not the people who were least limited but the people who embraced and drew inspiration from their limits.

His conclusion is that we can generate limitless creativity in our limits because… well, because inspiration is the final key.

We are all unique and all inspired in different ways. Whatever your craft or form of creativity you are still creating something and still being creative. Limits may make you think that everyone is churning out the same stuff within a small area. Yet, if you think about it an exact copy is still an interpretation of what the author saw in the original.

When I think about this in my own life I think about my experience with drawing.

I had a period in my college years where I was inspired to learn and get good at drawing. To do this I looked up all kinds of things on the internet and bought a few books and drawing supplies and just went to town.

The experience was quite eye opening to me. I found out that after learning a few techniques and gaining some practice I could copy other drawings quite well. No, I didn’t trace them. I copied them by sight. I learned the fundamentals, things like proportions and perspective, and learned to copy quite well. Yet, when I tried to draw things from my own mind I had trouble drawing them well.

There are reasons why this occurs for nearly everyone. And certainly people who can create things from their imagination have a great talent in their own right. But that doesn’t mean that people who don’t have that skill can’t excel in their creativity.

Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa. One imagined. One copied. Are either one less creative than the other?

This all comes back to Dustin’s conclusion…

Don’t stifle your creative urges because you feel you are limited. Let them be free. Start creating with whatever you have and start experiencing the pure joy that comes from something you have created with your own hands…


  1. Napoleon Hill talks about two types of creativity. The “synthetic imagination” is involved in re-expressing existing ideas in novel and productive ways. Nothing totally new, but a new breath of life and utility. “Creative imagination” is much more rare and addresses the genesis of something truly new.

    I think this is another great way of expressing the same idea as that found in this post. Just because you don’t possess an innate talent for “creative imagination” – and few people do – doesn’t mean you can’t make a meaningful contribution through your “synthetic imagination.”


    • Thanks Adam,

      I appreciate that comment. I still do see my synthetic imagination ability as something really helpful and good. It has gotten me a long way in my life.