One of my favorite stories of not falling prey to percevied limitations involves the filming of the opening shot of Sunset Boulevard:
For the opening shot of William Holden floating face down in the swimming pool, Wilder wanted a shot from below that would show both the body and the police and photographers standing at the pool's edge.
They tried putting the camera in a waterproof case and putting it on the bottom of the pool, but the quality of the shot was not good. Then art director John Meehan had the idea of putting a mirror on the bottom of the pool. That didn't work either because the water created too much distortion. But Meehan reasoned that because cold water distorts less than warm water, if he could chill the water enough, they could manage. Although extremely uncomfortable for actor William Holden, they got the shot.
The thing is that if the artistic choice was up to Meehan, he probably would have never thought to do that shot because it wouldn't have been within the realm of possibilities for him. That's the problem with growing up -- the more we learn about the way the world works, the less original our thoughts. It was only Billy Wilder insisting that the shot be that way that made Meehan even bother to go through all possible solutions -- if only to prove to Wilder that it could not be done. But it could. And it is one of the most iconic images in all of film.
I often wonder what my personal limits are, if any. Mormons have a teaching that the purpose of life is that all things might fulfill the measure of their creation, people, animals, plants, planets, everything. Mormons also believe that God "created every man different from his brother" and that institutions thrive when "when we take advantage of this diversity and encourage each other to develop and use our talents to lift and strengthen." The basic idea is that we are to be our best selves, whatever that self happens to be. But could most people say with absolute certainty that they even know who their best self is? Where is the proper line drawn between realistic and loving self acceptance and a desire to be "good" in one's own opinion versus the opinions of those who love you? Sometimes I think to myself, God must have created me differently to fulfill a different purpose than other people. But could I really be more normal than I think? Could I grow a conscience? Or practice empathy enough to the point where I too can feel what others are feeling? If I self-identify as a sociopath who will always be flawed in certain ways with limited opportunity for change, would that be a self-fulfilling prophecy?