Beautiful Boundaries

The following is an excerpt from a Delancy Place newsletter that my SSS (Super Smart Sweetheart) shared with me. It struck something in my minimalism-hungry soul and I knew I had to share it.

In today’s selection — in any endeavor, whether writing a book, starting a business, designing a house, or creating a recipe, narrowing the options is one of the hardest things to do. Self-editing is one of the most difficult forms of self discipline:

“In this age of information abundance and overload, those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what’s really important to them. Nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of limitless possibilities. The idea that you can do anything is absolutely terrifying.

“The way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself. It seems contradictory, but when it comes to creative work, limitations mean freedom. Write a song on your lunch break. Paint a painting with only one color. Start a business without any start-up capital. Shoot a movie with your iPhone and a few of your friends. Build a machine out of spare parts. Don’t make excuses for not working — make things with the time, space, and materials you have, right now.

“The right constraints can lead to your very best work. My favorite example? Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat with only 236 different words, so his editor bet him he couldn’t write a book with only 50 different words. Dr. Seuss came back and won the bet with Green Eggs and Ham, one of the bestselling children’s books of all time.”

‘Telling yourself you have all the time
in the world, all the money in the world,
all the colors in the palette, anything
you want — that just kills creativity.’

-Jack White

Author: Austin Kleon
Title: Steal Like An Artist
Publisher: Workman
Date: Copyright 2012 by Austin Kleon
Pages: 137-138

Hope this inspires you the way it inspired me. I love the beauty of the boundaries we create for ourselves with minimalism and seeking out a simple life. “The right constraints can lead to your very best work.” I think the right constraints can lean to your very best life.

Cheers to you dear reader! May your boundaries ever increase your creativity…


  1. What a great article! So true – having so many choices is a privilege, but it’s also a curse if it renders you unable to create. I wonder how much minimalism, and restricting your choices can help with perfectionist tendencies too?!

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