You Have Everything You Need

Creativity Flourishes Under Constraints

The Mission
May 13 · 3 min read

“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.” — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Food For Thought

You Have Everything You Need

In Communist Russia, tens of millions of people were killed or sent to their deaths in the Gulag. The problem with an evil government that tries to (and does) kill millions of people… is that eventually they will try to kill the wrong person.

For the Soviets, that one person was a yet-to-be writer. Over the years this man was: imprisoned, starved, and faced countless horrors. Along the way, he began writing a novel… in his head. Some days he would get lucky and find pieces of toilet paper he could scribble his ideas down on, but most of the time, he was limited to recording the entire book mentally.

When he finally managed to escape the Gulag and get real pens and paper, he wroteThe Gulag Archipelago, a masterpiece that was partly responsible for bringing down the Soviet Union and exposing its crimes. After his ordeal, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote:

“One man who stopped lying could bring down a tyranny.”

The best novels and books emerged out of enormous pressures. If you want to create something that stands the test of time, be warned:

Give up all hopelessness, because it is possible.

History is filled with examples of creators who produced lasting work with far fewer resources than you have and under far more hellish conditions.

You don’t need a little more money, a little more time, a little more inspiration… a little more anything. Creative constraints build masterpieces. Start building yours.


Deep Dive

The Power Of Creative Constraints

If you were given all the resources you needed to invent anything you wanted, what would you build? It’s a difficult question to answer. In fact, it’s so open-ended, that it may actually paralyze your thinking.

Here’s why it’s oftentimes helpful to have to think inside the box.


Further Reading

The Gulag Archipelago

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Read Solzhenitsyn’s Masterpiece.


#MondayMotivation

Do What You Love

Need an extra dose of motivation to get you through the week? Here are some wise words from Steve Jobs on the value of meaningful work:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”


Sign Off 👋

Happy Monday!

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This was originally published on May 13, 2019 as the Mission’s daily newsletter. To subscribe, go here.


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The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org