Self imposed contraints fosters creativity

On Monday I had the pleasure of spending the morning at Peter Spence's home where he hosted an old fashion soiree of brilliantly creative people. Apart from hearing the story of the Mongolian spring that bubbles when you sing to it and how to deliberately use a faux pas to get your message across, we also learned how to use a simple constraint to foster creativity.

Don Miller runs the Melbourne Centre for Ideas and he lead us in a simple writing exercise: write 10 lines about any topic you wish but you can't use the letter 'a'.

As the secretary of our basketball club (Strathmore Unicorns) I was thinking about the purpose of our domestic competition (the basic comp out in the suburbs) and here is my 10 lines on that topic.

The purpose of our club, in domestic competition,
is to forge conditions where kids love the
sport. It is only when they deeply love it will they
put their skills into motion. They need 10,000 hours under
their bellies to become expert which only comes when
they do it over multiple times. So the role of their
guide is to conjure the field in order to excite while
enthusing their minds. When this love is embedded, only then
will they deepen their skills. This is how we need
to conduct ourselves in the domestic competition.

This simple constraint forced you to break patterns, mainly cliches, in your writing. It was a quick exercise. Great fun too. And left you with the simple message that constraints can be terrific support.