The  Theory of Constraints

The theory of constraints is a principle that can be applied to all parts of our lives, although generally it is referred to in relation to business. I first came across it via Rich Schefren, an internet marketing and business leader.  Today I would like to take a look at how it affects our work as artists.

The theory of constraints is based on the principle that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Therefore it makes sense to focus on that weakest link and bring it up to the standard of the other links.

Theory of constraints - weakest link

Chains at Catherine Hill Bay


So as artists – what might some of our weak links be? Here’s a list for you to consider.

They fall into two main groups – physical and mental.

Physical constraints might include:

  • Painting techniques
  • Lack of time
  • Physical issues – i.e. bad back etc
  • Lack of studio space
  • Need for a baby sitter
  • No gallery to sell your work
  • Lack of collectors

Mental constraints might include:

  • Creative block
  • Can’t decide on a direction for your body of work
  • Lack of marketing skills
  • Fear of putting your work out in the public
  • Fear of rejection
  • Lack of self confidence
  • Self doubt
  • Inability to accept criticism
  • No support network – this can also be a physical constraint

This list is by no means exhaustive and some constraints will be unique to you personally. The Physical constrains can be the easiest to identify and the hardest to overcome.  Where as the Mental constraints are much harder to identify and can be easier to overcome, as generally they require a shift in thought patterns and habits, which are down to us and no one else. Mental constraints don’t require physical space or money to change.

So how can we set about identifying our constraints then?

To answer this question look out for next week’s Monday post.

Look For Thursday’s Post: ‘Secrets’ series continues with more works in the pipeline!

Next Monday’s Post: Moving – Is It Controlled, Or Just Chaos?

Posted by : Kadira Jennings

Photo Credit: Della



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