No one likes being backed up into a corner. We don’t enjoy feeling that we have limitations put on us by outside forces. We want to be free and feel free to do what we wish to do. We want to do things and we believe that we must do them in comfort in order to do them well. For this reason we don’t do much.
We can’t afford to buy paints, brushes or canvases, so we don’t bother to make art. We aren’t able to buy a guitar or piano, so we don’t bother with music. We don’t have the funding to back our own ventures ourselves, so we never start that start-up. We give up before we even begin. Maybe it’s because we as Generation-Y feel that we are entitled to achieve success with less effort and without discomfort. We want a life that is limitless, but label things as limits when they are actually just obstacles that may be overcome if we would choose to overcome them.
Excuses are always bountiful — if we were to spend half as much time doing what we have excuses for not doing as we spend creating these excuses, the world would have progressed twice-fold. If instead of deciding that it is not the right time, or the right place or the right opportunity we would decide that we must do what we want to do, then we would find that we somehow almost magically force the world to drop all its limitations.
By deciding that we will do what we want to do, the world responds by clearing the path for us. Yet we have excuses. I just spent the last hour or so watching TED talks about how one artist used hamburger grease to paint a picture of Mona Lisa and how a DJ played a set using fruits and vegetables. What if you don’t need art supplies to create art? What if you don’t need instruments to create music? What if you don’t need anything but a will in order to create whatever it is that you want? The saying: “When there is a will, there is a way” has never rung truer in my ears.
It’s true: when we stop believing ourselves to be limited, we do the undoable — the impossible. Most of us go into a situation already thinking that we will fail because we either do not have the resources we believe to be needed or the time available. Maybe others have told us that what we are attempting to do is, if not impossible, then extremely improbable.
Are they to blame? Or are you to blame for agreeing with them? Sure, it would be easier to attempt the task with a bulging bank account and more free hours than you know what to do with — but that doesn’t make the task impossible to do from where you stand now, just a bit more difficult. There are endless reasons for why we chicken out. It may be fear of failure, it may be laziness or it may be lack of purpose and drive. The truth is that one of the best ways to force creativity to manifest itself is forcing yourself to work within the parameters of what you have — that is how innovation is born.
When have you ever heard a success story worth listening to that started with: he grew up in a well-off family that supported him fully and put down the initial $2 million investment needed and yet somehow he miraculously was able to overcome the odds and come out on top? It’s the “beat all odds” stories that make up the tales we repeat to others — it’s these stories that motivate us and give us hope when hope is all that we are lacking to spur us into action. They’re not fairy tales, they are real life stories of people who had actual limitations and still managed to take over their worlds.
And these stories are of people that faced actual limitations, who grew up poor or handicapped in some form, whether physical, mental or social. If these people made it and overcame the odds, then why is it that you — without actual limitations — are unable to achieve anything of worth? There are people out there who couldn’t afford to eat, but still managed to turn themselves into millionaires.
There are people who did not have roofs over their heads, who lost their friends and families, who lost limbs, who lost senses, who had fate spit in their faces but decided to wipe it off and keep moving forward. Yet you have the nerve to say that you don’t have the resources or the time or the opportunity to make something of yourself?
Whatever you may believe your limitations to be, the chances are they can be overcome by simple action. Most of the limitations you do have are self-imposed. The only excuse one may have is lack of time, but that most likely is not the actual case — if you dropped some of your less productive activities you definitely could muster up enough time to work on a project of importance. Take Zach Sobiech for example.
When he found out that he only had months to live, he decided to spend the rest of his life doing what he loved — making music and spreading a message of love and inspiration. It’s incredible what humans are capable of when we are pressed for time. How long does it take to make a difference? Sobiech did it in a matter of months; he made an impact and affected the lives of millions. You’re likely to be lucky enough to have much longer, but are also likely to do much less.
You are given the gift of life and choose to say that some “limitations” are preventing you from doing anything meaningful. How long can you keep feeding yourself such excuses?
“Do it badly: do it, slowly: do it, fearfully: do it any way you have to, but do it.”- Steve Chandler.