One of the best ways to fuel creativity is to add constraints. It's a lot easier to face a blank page when you have a prompt than it is to simply be told to draw anything. Having a deadline helps too.

Sometimes, seemingly impossible constraints can produce great work.

Beethoven famously composed his best music completely deaf. Here's Arthur C. Brooks writing for The Washington Post:

In the last decade of Beethoven’s life (he died at 56), his deafness was complete, so music could reside only in his imagination . . . During that period, Beethoven wrote the music that would define his unique style, change music permanently and give him a legacy as one of the greatest composers of all time.

[ . . . ]

Deafness freed Beethoven as a composer because he no longer had society’s soundtrack in his ears.

So if you're struggling to create something, don't be afraid to add restrictions.

Those limits might set you free.


Reflections on creating systems to sustainably grow your impact on the world.
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