Deciding On Traction

“I’m going to never think about these knobs again. I’m never going to think about this guitar again. These are the settings and I’m now just going to worry about being creative with the sound I have… I’ve got the guitar I’ve got and now I’m going to put all of my energy into imagination and creativity… embracing those limitations helped me tremendously creatively.” 

-Tom Morello 

At some point in our creative process, we have to make a decision if we really want to make traction. 

We have to decide to stop looking for more and better tools so that we can focus on what we have and get better at using that.

It is easy to tell ourselves that we will do better work with better tools and, while this may be true, we have to come to recognize that this is also a means of procrastination and the tools do not do the work.

We do. 

The tools are not creative.

We are. 

Our tools are simply there to help us to better and more easily express ourselves creatively. 

If we put all of our time and energy into the tools we believe that we require in order to master our craft, we may never actually master our craft. 

We are far better served by establishing, accepting, and embracing limitations. 

These limitations give us boundaries. 

They put us in a single lane within which we can move forward. 

Without boundaries, we tend to be all over the place. 

We get distracted and lose focus. 

By giving ourselves limitations, by setting boundaries around the creative work we do, we allow ourselves to focus on the depth of our work. 

Depth, after all, is where expertise and mastery lie. 

If we hope to master our craft, to be experts in our field, no matter how narrow that field may be, we have to start by working with the tools we have. 

Our preferences may change over time, but we have to start somewhere. 

We may as well start here, now, with what is available to us in this moment. 

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