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A Beautiful Constraint: How To Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It's Everyone's Business by Adam Morgan, Mark Barden

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4 CAN-IF

How to find solutions to constraint-driven problems

THIS CHAPTER FOCUSES ON:

  1. What's the best way to begin answering these challenging kinds of questions?
  2. How do we maintain momentum in finding possible answers?
  3. What might be the most fertile places to start to look for answers?

PART 1: How we need to think about answers

Optimism decays

Propelling questions—using a higher level of ambition to force us to find the opportunity in apparent constraints—require us to work towards solutions that lie outside our experience and comfort zone. Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple's design chief, has spoken about what it takes to confront these kinds of challenges. It takes, he notes, both a “remarkable focus” and “being inquisitive and optimistic”—qualities which, he says, one doesn't see in combination very often; optimism and persistent inquisitiveness are hard to sustain over testing periods of trial and error.1

Some scientists have suggested that there's an evolutionary advantage to optimism. Optimism underpins progress by allowing us to believe in a better future, and so make it more likely that we will plan for and begin creating it. This optimism bias2 exists across race, region, class, and caste and explains why so many cultures have a version of the “every cloud has a silver lining” aphorism.

Academics also show that positivity correlates strongly with both resilience and openness, two characteristics we are going to need to draw on as we commit to exploring and testing inventive ...

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