by Will Schreiber

Constraints breed more than creativity

Every October in college, I had to go to the “Idea Fest” in Louisville. I always dreaded getting on the bus and missing out on a weekend on campus. But Philippe Petit was there one year to talk about life on a tightrope. Joseph Gordon-Levitt ended up playing him in a movie.

This guy Dom, who billed himself as “one of the original creators of Twitters”, met with us after his talk. I remember two things he said. 1. “I never forget a face,” as he stared at each of us intently for 3 seconds. 2. “Twitter is awesome because of the 140 character limit. Constraints breed creativity.”

I knew it was true. It’s one of those fortune-cookie statements that you roll your eyes when you hear.

Despite its triteness, I keep observing how constraints breed more than creativity. Constraints breed friendships, adventures, productivity, and more.

This past weekend, Elizabeth and I wanted to get out of the city for a hike. We sold the Subaru before moving here, so we could either 1. rent a car, 2. take an Uber, or 3. find friends to go on a hike with.

We’re cheap. So we texted a bunch of people asking if anybody was down for a hike.

One of Elizabeth’s friends said he was going across the golden gate bridge for a hike with two other guys. There was room for two more.

If the Subaru was parked downstairs, we would’ve just gone to Point Reyes on our own. But instead, not only did we get a hike in, I also met new people.

Andy casually mentioned this morning, “Us only having one car means I either have to Uber to work, find a ride, walk, or scooter. I decided to walk halfway, then scooter. And I’ll probably end up walking the whole way.”

In the past two days, here are two examples of constraints breeding friendships and exercise. It’s far more powerful than just creativity. Dom was right.