Creative constraints

Imagine you were asked to invent something new. It could be whatever you want, made from anything you choose, in any shape or size. That kind of creative freedom sounds so liberating, doesn’t it? Or … does it?

If you’re like most people you’d probably be paralyzed by this task. Why?

Brandon Rodriguez explains how creative constraints actually help drive discovery and innovation.

With each invention, the engineers demonstrated an essential habit of scientific thinking – that solutions must recognize the limitations of current technology in order to advance it.

Understanding constraints guides scientific progress, and what’s true in science is also true in many other fields.

Constraints aren’t the boundaries of creativity, but the foundation of it.

— The power of creative constraints

— Lesson by Brandon Rodriguez

— animation by CUB Animation

— TED-Ed


We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.

— Carl Jung



2018.02.17 Saturday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Action | Uncertainty

Action can decrease your uncertainty. That’s why the policy of “go as far as you can see, and when you get there, you’ll see farther” works, as long as the overall direction is correct.

— Me@2011.07.25

Go as far as you can see, and when you get there, you’ll see farther. — Thomas Carlyle — Me@2003

見步行步, 行步見步 — 卓韻芝

2014.11.15 Saturday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

The Nice Guy Paradox, 2

Being a nice guy can be a problem, because “always being nice” gives no feedback and no directions. In effect, “always being nice” gives people an infinite number of choices. Remember,

choices ~ headaches

In other words, you should be nice as often as possible, but not always. Be angry when you have to.

— Me@2011.06.26

— Me@2014.06.22

2014.06.22 Sunday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Deadline 5


— 孫子兵法

Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve. Officers and men alike will put forth their uttermost strength.

Soldiers when in desperate straits lose the sense of fear. If there is no place of refuge, they will stand firm. If they are in hostile country, they will show a stubborn front. If there is no help for it, they will fight hard.

— The Art of War (Sun)/Section XI

When there is no choice, there is no uncertainty.

You do not have to use any brainpower to make any decisions.

So you take the actions directly.

— Me@2011.04.26

choice ~ uncertainty

fear ~ the feeling of uncertainty

no choice ~ no fear

別無選擇 ~ 沒有不安

— Me@2013.09.08

2013.09.09 Monday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Constraints, 2

Give me a million dollars and I’ll figure out what to do. But it’s harder than it looks. Constraints give your life shape. Remove them and most people have no idea what to do: look at what happens to those who win lotteries or inherit money.

— How to do what you love

— Paul Graham

Constraints decrease the number of choices, thus decrease uncertainty. Therefore, constraints give shape to your life.

— Me@2010.12.27

2013.04.02 Tuesday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK


A time to fear, 4 | Recursion 8


人腦的特定是,時刻都想確定,下一步應該怎樣做。「不確定性」導致人腦,不能立刻決定,下一步的行動是什麼。那樣,人腦就會處於,一個「不斷企圖做決定,但又做不到決定」的無限循環(infinite loop)、跳上跳落的躍動狀態:

要做決定 –> 資料未夠–> 再試 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> 要做決定 –> 不行 –> …


對電腦程式來說,要打破一個「無限循環」,要麼到達「終止條件」(terminating condition / boundary case);要麼乾脆把它,從程式碼中刪除。



— Me@2012.03.08

— Me@2012.12.31

2012.12.31 Monday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Freedom 4

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.

— Jean-Paul Sartre

Freedom is a headache. But freedom is better than no-freedom because if you have freedom and do not like it, you can use your freedom to decrease your freedom. However, if you have no freedom and do not like it, you do not have freedom to increase your freedom.

— Me@2011.11.17

2012.10.08 Monday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Status quo bias

魔間傳奇 2.5.2

Whenever there are choices, people tend to choose the status quo,

whether they should or not,

for the uncertainty seems to be much less,  and the responsibility seems to be much lower,

although sometimes it is not the case.

— Me@2011.08.30

2011.08.30 Tuesday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Choices = Headaches, 2


Customers Don’t Know What They Want. Stop Expecting Customers to Know What They Want. It’s just never going to happen. Get over it.

– The Iceberg Secret, Revealed

– Joel Spolsky

Don’t ask directly “What do you want?”

because this question gives a customer too many (infinite) choices.

— Me@2011.07.12

2011.07.14 Thursday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK