How Limitations Can Kick-Start Creativity

iStock
iStock

One phrase that often comes up in discussions about dream jobs is "creative freedom." Many workers feel the restrictions placed on them at work are killing their creativity, and only when those constraints are lifted will their true genius shine through. This way of thinking is seductive, but according to TED-Ed, it's not necessarily accurate. As the video below demonstrates, total freedom can end up stalling the creative process.

Most people are familiar with the blank page effect: that feeling of mental paralysis that grips you when you sit down to write something from scratch. This phenomenon can strike artists, scientists, engineers, or anyone else beginning a new project. Fortunately, there’s an easy way around the imagination block.

According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, introducing obstacles to your path forces you to look at the bigger picture. They may seem annoying at first, but confronting these snags jump-starts your problem-solving skills and allows you to see solutions you may have ignored otherwise. The authors use the formula of sonnets as an example:

The artificial requirements of the sonnet are just another cognitive obstacle, a hurdle that compels the mind to think in a more holistic fashion. Unless poets are stumped by their art, unless they are forced to look beyond the obvious associations, they’ll never invent an original line … because poets need to find a rhyming word with exactly three syllables, or an adjective that fits the iambic scheme, they end up uncovering all sorts of unexpected associations.

Limitations on creativity are already a part of the daily routine for many workers. In that case, be grateful next time your boss is picky about what he or she wants from an assignment: Those hurdles may lead to your next stroke of brilliance.

[h/t TED-Ed]

Wednesday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Computer Monitors, Plant-Based Protein Powder, and Blu-ray Sets

Amazon
Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 2. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

This All-in-One Storage Solution Can Be Used at Home or Carried on the Go

RUX/Indiegogo
RUX/Indiegogo

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Whether you're looking for a durable storage solution for your garage or a roomy pack for a long camping trip, the collapsible RUX carrier can help keep your stuff safe and secure without taking up much room in your closet when you're done. And until December 10, you can support the project on Indiegogo.

The main idea of the RUX is to serve multiple purposes at once. You can carry it around like a backpack or duffle bag during a weekend trip outdoors, or you can use it as a stationary storage bin for your car or home. Despite being strong enough to hold your bulkiest gear, it only weighs around four pounds and is designed to be collapsible, so you can fold it up and slip it away afterwards. (Unfolded, the RUX comes in at 15.7 by 19.5 by 13.8 inches.)

And if you're looking to use it during more serious outdoor adventures, you can rest assured that its weatherproof construction will keep your stuff dry in the rain. There's even a window that allows you to double-check that your items are safe and sound.

RUX/Indiegogo

The RUX was created with sustainability and longevity in mind. Not only does the RUX have a lifetime warranty, but each component can also come off and be replaced easily so you can continue using the product no matter the problem. RUX is a member of 1% For The Planet, which is a group that gives back 1 percent of sales to environmental causes, even if they are not profitable.

There is still time to back the RUX campaign and reap the rewards. If you back $196, you’ll get your first RUX along with it. However, if you back $265, you’ll get one RUX, two divider totes, an EDC pouch, and two utility straps. If you back $449, you’ll get all the same things from the second level along with an extra RUX. If you want to back $515 or $725, you’ll get double or triple everything, respectively, from the second level.

The RUX campaign ends on December 10, so there is still time to back this product through Indiegogo. Shipments of RUX will hopefully start by June 2021.

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