There is freedom and creative expression in the absence of choice.
On a micro level, Each option you have takes a piece of your daily mindspace. Too many choices at once can crowd your mind and even overwhelm you to the point of choosing nothing.
On a macro level, an overwhelming amount of choice crowds out our creativity and growth. Surround yourself with infinite canvases, paints, brushes, books upon books of inspiration and as much time as you need to create a masterpiece and you’ll end up staring at a blank canvas until you’re blue in the face.
The more product choices you give your customers, the less likely they will choose anything.
The same is true for writing a book. Even the phrase ‘Writing a book’ sounds mysterious and romantic to a would-be novelist like myself. A ‘book’ in my mind sounds like a 600-page tomb filled with wisdom to change the world. Combine that with expectations of writing a best-seller and you might as well try chopping vegetables with your hands instead of a knife.
And there lies the key insight: The absence of choice is like a blade’s edge for productivity and creativity. Razor sharp. The fewer choices you have in front of you, the sharper your creative blade will be.
Some of my best songs to date on the guitar have been made when I️ broke strings and was down to 4 instead of 6 strings. Some of my best blog posts I have written were the once I limited myself to one piece of papers worth of writing.
When you take away your options you find opportunities with what you have in front of you. The absence of choice opens doors you didn’t even know existed.
Another great example we can all relate to is Netflix. With so many movies and tv options, the majority of my watching time is scrolling through the Netflix catalog. By the time I️ find something to watch is already too late for me to watch It. But if you want to see a movie in theaters, there are only so many options you can choose from.
When your back is up against a wall, you find yourself with a plethora of possible solutions. Your only choices are either give up and lose, or find any means necessary to overcome the problem.
Emerson created Walden when he was in a cabin alone with just himself, nature and his thoughts and observations.
The Wright Brothers developed flight with next to no resources.
So when you are looking for creative inspiration don’t add more — remove choices.
Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” — Lao Tzu