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Shifting Perspective by Walking with Nature

What do you do when you reach a limit?

Maybe that’s a limit of an idea, something you’re writing, a relationship, an aspect of your business, a period of your life.  We hit up against limits all the time.

I’ve been tussling with ideas recently because I know I’m up against some limits.  Sometimes the ideas themselves get all tangled up and become limits too: to what I can see, think, plan, imagine, dream, make possible.

And when that happens, well the only thing I know is to go outside and walk it through.  Sometimes I take photos and doodle notes as I go.

Inspired by Robert Hruzek’s question “What have you learned from limits?” I decided to pay enough attention that I could write a blog post about the learning too.

Here’s the outcome of the walk, described in two word limits.

(Yes, I like to apply word limits as a way of playing, and compressing thought, and generating ideas.  Plus it was a way to work this post into the theme of essential writing too ;-) )

How I Learn from Limits

1. Go Outside

2. Take Photos

3. Gain Height

4. Change Perspective

5. Take Stock

6. Notice Paths

7. Recognise Signs

8. Spot Guardians

9. Realise Limits

10. Observe Strength

11. Absorb Colour

12. Embrace Wisdom

13. Inhale Source

14. Take Notes

15. Apply Lessons

Oh, and if you’re a crazy blogger, share results :-)

How about you - what do you do when you know you’ve reached some limits?

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  1. Mipovia says:

    Well, in writing, I love limits .. Most ideas I have are interconnected, and I might end up writing about another story jumping to another topic trying to explain the first thing I had in mind.. Limits stop me from such wanderings..

  2. Omar Reyes says:

    Hi Joanna,

    This is such and inspiring post. I especially love the photos. They make me want to…

    Do more, complain less, step back, live life, and love harder.


  3. Meryl K Evans says:

    What a fabulous and creative limits post, Joanna! Gosh, you’re talented with your camera. I have no eye for design — I know about the rule of thirds and all that… but it’s as if I’m the Elaine of Seinfeld in taking photos (:
    .-= Meryl K Evans´s last blog ..Fighting the Green-Eyed Monster…Or Not =-.

  4. Robert Hruzek says:

    I can always trust you to look at things from a completely fresh perspective, Joanna! Thanks for the contribution - and the beautiful, inspiring walk through your countryside.

    Lemme jest add one more two word salutation: Tips hat! :-D
    .-= Robert Hruzek´s last blog ..What I Learned From… Limits =-.

  5. Bo says:

    Wow, Joanna, I am so impressed. This post speaks to me in VERY LOUD two word sentences. So impressed with the coupling of the words and the photographs. You know, this is exactly how I get past limits. “Go outside. Take photos.” Lines from my life. And I believe that the power of those first two sentences leads directly to big time solutions.

    .-= Bo´s last blog ..Buttermilk Falls =-.

  6. Karen Swim
    Twitter: karenswim

    Joanna, I must agree with everyone, you truly have emerged as a talented photographer. I love the two word limits and the accompanying posts. When faced with my own limits I sometimes try to barrel through them, which can yield bruising. The softer approach is often more prudent, walking away, refreshing by doing something different, clearing space for my subconscious to work it out while I consciously work on something different.

  7. Emma Newman
    Twitter: emapocalyptic

    Oh wow.
    You star.
    I’m inspired.
    And humbled.
    .-= Emma Newman´s last blog ..The power of words and writing =-.

  8. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Mipovia limits are funny aren’t they - they can both stop us wandering too far and point us in new and exciting directions when we hit up against them… ;-)

    Omar thanks for chipping in with your two words… they’re a wonderful selection. Live life. Simple, powerful, effective. Thanks.

    Meryl honestly all I do is point and shoot - the countryside does the rest. Well that’s how it seems anyway, plus I’m enjoying doing it completely unschooled - more fun that way :-) Thanks for the feedback though - it encourages me to keep on sharing them.

    Robert well thanks for the inspiration - for the walk, the photos, the post, and the learning that I came away with. More of that to be revealed later…

  9. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Bo wow, thank you :-) I agree completely with the last sentence. Big time.

    Karen thanks for the feedback :-) I’m trying to be more subtle rather than barrelling through too. Some limits are real, not just in our heads. I was reminded of this while I sat on the cliff tops, happily doodling and pleased with myself at my writing and thinking… and then nearly losing my footing and tumbling down the hill :-)

    Emma ta muchly :-)

  10. --Deb says:

    Love it, Joanna. And here I thought that writing was supposed to be limitLESS!
    .-= -Deb´s last blog ..Autumn is a Breath of Fresh Air =-.

  11. Wilson Pon says:

    Joanna, life is short and that’s why we should “Live happily” and “Spread love” to everyone we care…

  12. Suzannah-Write It Sideways says:

    I love this idea of the 2 word limit. The challenge is to find the best-the most powerful-words. I’ve found that forcing myself to be succinct is really beneficial. Thanks :)

  13. Leah Pauls says:


  14. Davina says:

    Hi Joanna. I LOVE photo #12 Embrace Wisdom — that’s an awesome tree! And just two words can be so powerful… What do I do when I’ve reached limits? Remain curious, allow tears, breathe deep, let go, move forward, or look behind. And I… need to pick one of these today actually.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..8. A Trail Through Thyme =-.

  15. Rosa Say says:

    I love this post Joanna, so well done.
    .-= Rosa Say´s last blog ..Where Planning Ends and Projects Begin =-.

  16. Leah Pauls says:

    I sing on the worship team at my church. This evening we practiced a song entitled “Breathe.” The chorus sings, “And I’m desperate for You/And I’m lost without You.” As we sang it, everyone present got “God bumps” (a.k.a. goose bumps) and one person commented, “isn’t it amazing how six simple words can have such an impact?”

    So I shared with them what I experienced today reading your blog and poring over your photos. I told them of the lesson of “Two Words”- two words like “Jesus wept.” Profound poetry.

    I was asked to share my thoughts with the congregation this Sunday. I will, but not without giving credit where it is due.

    Thank you.

  17. Alex Lim says:

    Wow, this is impressive. Never knew limits could open lots of amazing ideas. I tend to stop when I reached my limit. I thought it’s a warning from my head that it needs to rest. This post is inspiring and good words like these are source of motivation. The photos are great, they convey meaningful messages. It amazes me how this 2 word limit could bring an impact over a post.

    .-= Alex Lim´s last blog ..Before You Purchase A Domain Name Availability =-.

  18. Mary F says:

    Great post Joanna. Loved the 2 word limit with pictures.
    Very creative. I like it a lot … much learning!
    Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Mary F´s last blog ..Autumnal playtime =-.

  19. Janice Cartier says:

    Beautiful, Joanna. Truly.
    I call it necessary down time. And I take it. Walk away, move, do something else, almost anything else that let’s me let go for a space. Then I can come back with fresh eyes/fresh mind to whatever I was working on.
    Once upon a time when I had a personal trainer, Neal was very insistent on quality down time between workouts. He said we only did HALF the work in his gym. The other half, the recovery time, was where the actual growth and rebuilding muscle tissue took place. Hm, I saw huge similarities in studio work. (and with him huge gains in fitness.)
    Renewal, time away, is necessary to stay vibrant. Artistically fit if you will. Even if it is just taking my sketchbook/notebooks to my coffee shop and being there for awhile, it can work.
    (Although having a walkabout in your neck of the woods would also work quite well. Lovely. Breathtakingly lovely. :) )

  20. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    -Deb sometimes we need the limits to write limitlessly…? ;-)

    Wilson ha! Great additions, thanks

    Suzannah yes, there’s an important link to power… that might sometimes be a word that’s soft… but it’s always going to have impact :-)

  21. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Leah Wow!

    Davina those words are wonderful… remain curious - that gets us out of so many stuck places. Allow tears: yes, that too. I feel my breathing change as I read your words. Thank you.

    Rosa hello there! Mahalo my friend.

  22. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Leah wow, thank you so much for sharing that with me. Profound poetry in the comment box. Thanks.Alex thanks for the feedback :-) It’s one of the things I’ve learned over and over from blogging - the change to experiment gives us the chance to learn and grow through apparent limits. Mary Fthank you! I appreciate the feedback, thanks.Janice that’s such an interesting thought - where does the growth actually take place? Generally not when we’re ‘hard at it’. I know I need to walk, every day, to keep processing, learning and staying positive. Oh and sleeping: a lot of my best creative growth happens (happily) when I’m asleep ;-)

  23. Middle Zone Musings » All Entries: What I Learned From Limits says:

    [...] 2 Word Limit, by Joanna Young at Confident Writing [...]

  24. Fred H Schlegel says:

    Very Cool.
    .-= Fred H Schlegel´s last blog ..Non-Competes, Health Insurance and Other Ugly Limits To Innovation =-.

  25. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Fred much appreciated :-) I wonder what would happen if we moved from 140 characters to two word limits? It’s quite catching after a while (my headlines for example appear to be heading that way…)