Creativity and Constraints

You probably remember a handful people in your elementary, middle, and high school who were known as the “artists.” They were the ones who turned in the beautiful drawings, won the contests, got tapped for t-shirt designs, etc.

I was one of them. With the reputation of an artist came two common refrains. The first? “You’re so talented.” And the second: “You’re so creative.”

But both statements aren’t quite accurate.

Talent? My proficiency as an artist came from paying attention to detail and being a perfectionist. It wasn’t talent; it was focused practice.

And I’ve never felt creative. In my mind, to be creative is to be able to imagine new things from nothing, which has never been easy for me.

Only, after awhile, I realized something. I am creative so long as I have constraints. Constraints create a problem to be solved. And by attempting to solve intractable problems I could be creativity.

Constraints strip away possibility and introduce challenges to overcome. The creative person—the artist, the inventor, the entrepreneur—finds a novel way.

  1. Rudy

    I was told something like this once. that “what do you do” is powerful. if its not its meddling with someone else.
    using our resources and our tongues.
    investing in the right people can inspire others to jump in front of you–holding by that same token some other organization
    that will cause folks to run into burning buildings and save lives

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