How To Elevate Your Creativity And Sharpen Your Focus In 60 Seconds

And improve your problem-solving skills too

Give yourself a competitive advantage

Despite the advantages of constraints, we don’t apply them in the real world. When a dinner party guest asked me my favorite albums of all time, I struggled to answer. I had to sift through an entire life’s worth of music.

Adding constraints keeps your attention focused. Too free a hand allows your attention to scatter.

Prove it to yourself

Get out your stopwatch and a pen and paper. Which question takes you longer, the one with constraints or without?

Cheat your way to creativity

Whenever you struggle with creativity, add a constraint. It creates tension, a problem you need to solve. That tension sparks your creativity.

Try this creative exercise

Write a story about anything you choose.

The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self. And the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution — Igor Stravinsky

If you need to solve a problem, spark your creativity or think out of the box, try adding a constraint. An arbitrary obstacle works well for artistic creativity.

Discover better solutions to tough problems

When it comes to problem-solving, well thought out constraints can lead to ideal solutions.

The ideal constraint will add a conflicting goal, creating tension and forcing you to think outside the box.

How can I eat all organic food and decrease my monthly food expenditure?
You would expect to spend more, but adding this constraint forces you to think of creative solutions.

Constraint Building Exercises

These exercises will sharpen your ability to think with constraints. Plus, they’re a ton of fun.

  1. Add two arbitrary constraints to your next blog post. For example, if you’re blogging about a personal experience add this arbitrary constraint: no usage of the verb to be. This limitation will force you to think of other verbs to use in its place.
  2. Think of a problem you solved recently. How could you have solved the problem by adding a constraint? Try adding one with a conflicting goal or eliminating the obvious solutions using the keyword, without.

Written by

Experimenter in life, productivity, and creativity. Work in Forge | Elemental | Business Insider | GMP | Contact: barry@barry-davret dot com.

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