Limitations Define Possibilities
|December 30, 2014||Filled under Attitude, Business, Choice, Communication Skills, Limitation, Possibility, Public Speaking|
“It’s always good to have options,” a friend just said to me. Well, maybe not. I find that abundant opportunity is often crippling. Personally, I have difficulty making decisions and when I have lots of options I simply get more stuck.
I am reminded of director Roman Polanski’s first feature film Knife in the Water (1962) and how it exemplified Professor Annette Insdorf’s recurrent theme in her Eastern European Cinema class I attended at Columbia University: The limitations define the possibilities. Limitations of both resources and artistic freedom. Budget and censorship. Knife in the Water has only three actors and the film takes place–almost entirely–on a sailboat in the middle of the water. The cinematography and the storytelling are brilliant.
Sometimes in business and in life, when there is only one choice, one possibility, it is actually freeing. All my energy and focus goes into actualizing this one possibility. I am not distracted. When I am faced with challenges or problems, I MUST face them, rather than jump ship to option B. Because I must face them, I become more creative, resourceful, inventive and effective. Limitations defining possibilities.
Let’s think about the public speaker. Limitation: time. When you have a specific amount of time, you must choose carefully what to say and what to leave out. Does it really support your main point or not? If not, no matter how funny the story, clever the phrase or important the idea, cut it! Can you find one story that is both engaging and illustrates your main point? There’s your attention getting, draw-them-in opening that both sets up your speech and serves as a reference when you restate your point throughout the speech. One story is much easier to follow and remember than multiple stories and examples. It drives home your message. Less noise, greater understanding. Limitations defining possibilities.
Knife in the Water was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1963 Academy Awards and is taught in film classes for a reason. If you haven’t seen Knife in the Water recently (or if you’ve never seen it!), I encourage you to go get a copy and watch it. Revisit or discover this incredible film, with the idea “the limitations define the possibilities” in mind. Then ask yourself, what are the limitations in my life and what possibilities have they defined?