Some people don’t like being boxed in by constraints, but I’ve always seen them as fuel for fire. Having less of something can be a great catalyst for innovation, even if it’s less time, resource, skill or experience - it can force creativity in a pragmatic and efficient way. 
For me, there's nothing more daunting than a completely open brief, and in the event of such free rein I find it's useful to impose my own limitations. Most artists have a favoured format and/or medium that they start with, which narrows down the infinite possibilities from the outset. David Bowie famously cut up old diaries or newspapers to generate lyrics, and as a songwriter myself, another useful method is changing the tuning of your instrument to one you're unfamiliar with – it's a sure-fire way to elicit something new. Writers do it all the time – the following 'six-word story' is a great example of how extreme brevity can eliminate waste and create a really powerful result.


"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
Ernest Hemingway


Some companies embrace their limitations too. While most airlines use a few aircraft models, Southwest streamline their business to use only Boeing 737s. This means pilots and staff can work interchangeably on any flight, while overheads are kept to a minimum.

According to psychologists, our brains are constantly striving for ways to use less energy, and you begin to see your environment differently when you have less to work with. So if you find yourself cursing your constraints, try turning them to your advantage by seeing how far you can get with what you have - I guarantee you will become more resourceful and think smarter.


"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



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