Creativity and Constraints

In my early twenties, I wrote a number of “philosophical fragments.” These thought-fragments were inspired by Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, Blaise Pascal’s Pensées, and Søren Kierkegaard’s Philosphical Fragments.

Fragment #92 I wrote says this:

Creativity thrives under limits, be they natural or imposed.

Since then, I’ve seen this principle at work time and time again.

So it was no surprise when I came across similar sentiments in The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz.

We Are Innovative When Resources Are Scarce

“It’s awe-inspiring how careful, thoughtful, and innovative we are when our supplies are scarce. But it’s also confounding how quickly we use and abuse our resources when we perceivably have a lot.”

Lack of Money Forces You to Grow the Right Way

“Money covers up problems and weaknesses. Without money, you’ve got to bring your A-game every day. Lack of funds forces you to optimize everywhere and grow the right way.”


Do you lack resources?

Don’t despair.

It may be a big blessing in disguise.

-Ryan M. Healy


  • Stephen Bray

    January 26, 2012

    Yes, you’re right. We are innovative when resources are scarce.

    This also relates to that old ‘long copy vs short copy’ debate. When there’s very little space to fill the words tend to work harder.

    Like this brief blog post ~ which gets straight to the point.

    • Ryan M. Healy

      January 27, 2012

      Absolutely… one-page space ads are often very challenging (and rewarding) to write due to the space constraints.

  • Chris

    January 26, 2012

    Another thing to consider is that when you lack resources and finally obtain the level of success you’re after, you keep more of your humility.

    Now of course this isn’t true to some, but it makes sense. Not having enough forces you to be creative AND grateful for what you’re able to achieve.

    That gratitude brings with it a lot of power and prosperity.

    Great post Ryan, it was really inspiring :D

    • Chris

      January 26, 2012

      Oh yeah and I forgot to mention, I too have a file of philosophical fragments (though I didn’t know that’s the term for it, I just like good quotes) and here are a couple that kind of relate:

      “I believe the greater the handicap, the greater the triumph”

      “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”

      “You are surrounded by simple, obvious solutions that can dramatically increase your income, power, influence and success. The problem is, you just don’t see them.”

    • Ryan M. Healy

      January 27, 2012

      People who build their wealth slowly get wisdom along the way. Those who “come into money” often squander it because they were not first “faithful in the little things.”

      Thanks for the comments, Chris!

  • Paul

    January 26, 2012

    “Money covers up problems and weaknesses.”

    The best sentence I’ve seen to describe why the economy is in such a bad place now.

    Large corporations and banks control all the money, so all the problems related to the mortgage meltdown and weakness in the system were hidden until there was a literal event horizon and the cover up could exist no more!

  • Dale Buckeridge

    January 26, 2012

    LOL…….you have no idea how much that blessing is!

    • Ryan M. Healy

      January 27, 2012

      Glad this post was helpful to you, Dale. :-)

  • din

    February 1, 2012

    inspiring… may your continue to inspire others.