There is always a natural sense of restraint or limitation, perhaps better described as constraint, before any great work.
Imagine for instance a figure skater. Before that figure skater makes that triple twisting leap in the air, she will cease all necessary movement in order to reserve and garner the energy and focus necessary to successfully complete the spin.
While this is but one example the principle holds true across a spectrum of applications. Consider a light. In order to bring that light into a truly powerful application, stricture, restraint, limitation, constraint must be placed upon the light. And when that is done light goes from common to great. Light under constraint is a laser, a tool of great power.
The successful entrepreneur or businessman for instance, is one who has limited the scope of their work. So that even within the business the particulars of that business are narrowed down and the focus is just one area of what could be many. Those who want to be successful in business must choose against the many, and go for the one great thing they can do and be about.
A woman about to have a baby, enters into what we call the nesting phase. That period of time just prior to birth, often a few weeks to a months time, when she gathers into herself so to speak, quiets down in her own core, all in preparation for that great work of birthing new life into the world. Constraint preparing for a great work.
Time and again, we can see that constraints are powerful forces that take ordinary and make them into extraordinary. And this is true as well of our inner persons.
Constraints take our normal emotions and create powerful places of will coming from deep within. For instance, constraint that refuses to spew anger everywhere but rather, gathers that anger up into an energy best described as willpower, creates a catalyst for change within our being and lives.
The constraint of one’s words and tongue, as another example, reveals the power of the individual in and over their own life. Spew everything that comes to mind at whomever is nearest, and you will have a life that is devoid of personal power. It is like the energy has gone everywhere in random fashion, and it all comes to no good end.
Professionalism, that place where we become a canvas so to speak, presenting the work that is ours to present, refuses to mar the message with our own stuff getting in the way. Professionalism, ie: constraint, does not demand everything have voice, in fact it is just the opposite. Professionalism is constraint chosen and used well and toward great works.
For you see, we can fight against constraint, we can ignore constraint and pretend that it doesn’t exist, or we can use this principle of constraint to better serve ourselves and others.
What great work do you want to be about? Make no mistake about it, to succeed at that work, constraint will need to be chosen. Less is more.
We tend to believe and live the lie that more is better. But what if it isn’t true? What if that quest towards more of this or that, more time for this or that, more options towards this or that, is all a figment of our corporate imaginations?
What if less truly is more. What would you be choosing. And why. And how.
As an artist, the constraint of a canvas, the focus of a theme, the limitation of a time deadline, can and often works for us.
Give a person unending time and canvas and focus and we end up with a work that was perfect some days ago, but not now.
Writing a blog post, how many words are we limiting ourselves to? Giving a speech how many minutes are you limited to? Having an important meeting, will it come to a better conclusion if you give unlimited time or if you create a time constraint?
We could go on and on, as the truth of constraint as the powerful force that it is, could be discussed for quite some length. But the point is this, embrace constraint.
Make up some constraints. Use constraint and limitation to harness your best efforts into something great.