Saturday, February 27, 2010

Limits on Creativity

‘If you think you can, or cannot – you’re right.’ ~ HENRY FORD

Too often, we have been taught in creativity and innovation classes to not place limits on our thinking. Limits hold us back. They restrict our thinking. They lead us back into our mental models, mental blocks and mental boxes.

In reality, people may impose their limits and limitations on us. In fact, limits may challenge us to be more creative when solving problems. Thanks to (school teacher) Shade for pointing that out!

In 1994, I innovated (and perhaps, invented) a way of vanishing objects without a jacket. Traditionally, magicians have produced and vanished objects and livestock with classy wear. Wearing a coat/jacket in outdoors Singapore can be hot and stifling. I decided to dress casually, with folded sleeves and a tie – functional, yet smart casual. Sixteen years later, I have enhanced that basic idea and had it copyrighted, and recently a young American magician has claimed credit for ‘independent thinking’ and marketed his ideas on a DVD. I have several versions of my invention and multiple applications recorded in my manuscript in 2005. My fellow magician merely used it to mainly vanish small objects like coins.

In November last year, despite a busy travel schedule and participating in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, I managed to write 50,000 words for a novel in 30 days. It was an insane act, but I did it and I am glad I pursued the task relentlessly. There is another creative writing challenge in April: write a screenplay or stage play in a month. Care to join us?

Here is my collective attempt at working around some of my limits. This is my new bicycle setup for next week’s event: Ironman New Zealand. I have fixed up a bike, with new aero-bars, a new geometry, and borrowed wheels (thanks, Reeves!). I trust it should help me do the deed of completing 180km reasonably well. Thank you, my triathlete friends for proposing to lend me your bikes to race! I am grateful for your generosity and friendship!

There is still time for me to tweak the bicycle; not much I can do for my residual fitness and techniques after my accident about three weeks ago. There are some limitations we just cannot force on our human body. Some things require patience and time to develop.

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