Turning Limitations into Opportunities

When I broke my right hand, I said, “I’m going to have a badass left hook when this is all said and done.”

– Ronda Rousey

We’re deeply inspired by the idea that our limitations – especially those that ordinarily might be treated as setbacks, like small budgets and limited time – are actually the drivers of our best work. In the first of two pieces below, the mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey shares how she developed her signature move, the armbar, after a torn ACL prevented her from doing intense leg work. The excerpt comes from Rousey’s autobiography, My Fight / Your Fight, which is full of lessons from her athletic career that can be easily transplanted into the classroom. (We’re so inspired by Rousey that the chop saw at our home base, Girls Garage, is named Ronda.)


The second pieces is the transcript of a talk by Phil Hansen (right), the artist whose early practice focused on pointillism but who, after developing a tremor in his hand, was forced to take his work in new directions. When his doctor said, “Well, why don’t you just embrace the shake?,” Hansen decided to accept the limitation rather than fight it – and began to create work that he never would have pursued otherwise.



Turning Limitations into Opportunities