Menu

Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Embracing your limitations

May 2, 2008

In the world of photography there is a mantra that you’ll sometimes here about; embracing limitations.  It is where, even though you are only equipped with a camera that isn’t feature rich or technologically advanced, you embrace those limitations and still create interesting images.  You come to grips with the things that your camera can not do and focus on doing the things that it can.

As an example of this, I post my mobile photos taken with an iPhone which only has a 2.1 megapixel camera.  Yet, I feel, some of the photos I’ve taken with my iPhone are really interesting shots.  I try my best to take photos with my iPhone that I know will turn out, rather than trying to get it to take photos I know it won’t.

I feel the same can be said for us.  Each and every one of us have things that we’re really good at.  On your worst day, if I asked you to list the things you’re good at, I’m pretty sure you’d be able to give me a few things that you think you do well.  This is where people need to embrace their limitations, rather than ignore them.  You might call it; coming to grips with reality – I call it a relieving epiphany. The day you figure out what you are best at, and what you’d rather have help with, is the day you’ll become a much happier person.

Continually doing the things you are not good at is a road depression and perhaps failure.  Sometimes we are faced with situations we are forced to deal with, whether we like it or not, but these circumstances should be rare if we set ourselves up correctly.  Figure out what you do best and let someone else help you with the rest.

The next time you are faced with a task, ask yourself if you are the best person to do it.  If you are not, you may find that one of the other few billion people on this planet might be the best person.  If you have no other choice but to do it yourself, embrace your limitations and do the best job that you can, but try to find help for the next time that task comes up.

This thought process is nothing new.  In 37Signal‘s book, Getting Real, they call this Embracing Constraints. Although the angle of approach for this discussion is a little different in their book, the outcome is the same, deal with what you’ve got in order to produce the best result.  When in doubt, leave it out?  Here is a quote from their book:

“Instead of freaking out about these constraints, embrace them. Let them guide you. Constraints drive innovation and force focus. Instead of trying to remove them, use them to your advantage.”

Again, instead of trying to do everything yourself, do what you are good at and you will find success.  So, what are you good at?