A Beautiful Constraint

I once read the summary of a book called A Beautiful Constraint. It’s on my short-list of books to finish in 2018. Even without getting cover to cover, the concept is one that I’ve been able to use.


In work and in life.

The authors demonstrate how we create habits and we stick with them. Unfortunately, without us knowing, habits can become ruts. Automated responses can prevent us from seeing other options and tapping into our inventiveness.

Until something happens that causes us to think differently. Or until we are forced to act differently.

This ‘something’ might be what we choose or it could be imposed upon us.

Here’s are some really simple examples.

  • One day you come to work and you are notified that you no longer have a job.
  • On the way to your car to go to work, you notice your tire is flat.
  • The resources you thought you’d have for a certain project are no longer available.

Initially, our human reaction to these events might be frustration. Or, even fear.

Yet, after being introduced to this concept of a beautiful constraint, I’ve noticed my mind no longer views obstacles or inconveniences as defeating.

I’ve learned to look for possibility.

To invent.

To let the hurdle become a launch pad for creativity.


More on A Beautiful Constraint (source: Amazon.com)

The book takes the reader on a journey through the mindset, method and motivation required to move from the initial “victim” stage into the transformation stage. It challenges us to:

  • Examine how we’ve become path dependent—stuck with routines that blind us from seeing opportunity along new paths
  • Ask Propelling Questions to help us break free of those paths and put the most pressing and valuable constraints at the heart of our process

We live in a world of seemingly ever-increasing constraints, driven as much by an overabundance of choices and connections as by a scarcity of time and resources. How we respond to these constraints is one of the most important issues of our time and will be a large determinant of our progress as people, businesses and planet, in the future. A Beautiful Constraint calls for a more widespread capability for constraint-driven problem solving and provides the framework to achieve that.

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