Embrace Your Limitations

Krasi Shapkarova

Krasi is Carey the Torch's Editor-in-Chief and also represents the Career Development Office in Washington, D.C., working with students on career exploration and development. Krasi holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a Master of Arts in International Human Rights from the University of Denver.

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We need to first be limited in order to become limitless.

Phil Hansen

As a career coach, I meet with students at different stages of the career development process: from those who have no idea what they want to do to those who have a very narrow focus. This is a blog post about the latter.

Career focus is vital but when for one reason or another that focus cannot be achieved, giving up on your dream does not have to be the logical outcome. Rather, you need to brainstorm, adapt, and create a new path to the dream. That’s what Phil Hansen had to do. His dedication to creating art through tiny dots eventually led to a shake and he was faced with a choice: give up on being an artist or continue doing what he loved most by embracing the shake.

What makes Phil’s story truly inspirational is that by choosing to embrace the shake, the change in mindset didn’t simply lead to a “a different approach to art than [he] wanted;” it opened a floodgate of artistic expressions. No longer restricted by “a single approach to art, [he] ended up having an approach to creativity that completely changed [his] artistic horizons.” What could have been a limitation that ended his career turned into an impetus for some of the most fascinating art pieces I have ever seen. As a fan of storytelling, my favorite has to be the revolving canvas featuring art made up of people’s stories.

What is your career focus? Does it prevent you from seeing other opportunities or other paths to achieving your dream? If your goal is to work at Goldman Sachs in New York City but you have minimal experience and are an international student, should you give up or be resourceful and creative when it comes to your approach? Don’t be so rigid in your job search process that it destroys the entire experience for you. As Phil Hansen emphasizes, “Learning to be creative within the confines of our limitations is the best hope we have to transform ourselves and, collectively, transform our world.”

Need inspiration to get you started? Listen to Phil tell his story in a 2013 TED talk.

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