I gave up pop (soda) for Lent. Now, I love Diet Dr. Pepper in particular. It tastes great. In the middle of the afternoon when I need a lift, I looked forward to that drink. Yum. But I gave it up for Lent to see what would happen. Could I be comfortable without those bubbles, that peculiar taste?
I did this once before. That time I couldn’t get the idea of Diet Dr. Pepper out of my head. This time was much easier. Occasionally I had an urge but for the most part I went through the six weeks without a problem. This time I did not have the urge for pop (soda) that I did before. Maybe I broke the habit. I got more creative to find refreshing snacks to replace my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper. After Lent I have no desire for a Diet Dr. Pepper at all. I am pleasantly refreshed with a nice ice tea or ice water.
It got me thinking about living within restraints. When I gave up pop for Lent I created a restraint and learned to live within that constraint. It was easy. It inspired me to seek out alternate snacks for the afternoon.
Constraints come to us voluntarily or involuntarily.
Give up cigarettes. Stop eating red meat. Give up sweets for your diet. Exercising instead of being a couch potato. These are voluntary constraints we impose on ourselves. Losing your job or retiring are involuntary constraints that change the way we live. We have to adjust our spending or we run up debt.
It is possible to find these constraints refreshing or invigorating. The adjustment requires creativity.
I found this interesting article the other day that reinforces this idea of working within constraints, “The Weird Strategy Dr. Seuss used to create his greatest work (and why you should use it too)” by James Clear. Evidently Bennett Cerf, founder of the publishing firm Random House made a bet with Theo Geisel (Dr. Seuss) that he could not write an entertaining children’s book using only 50 different words. Working within that constraint, Dr. Seuss wrote the best seller, Green Eggs and Ham, which has sold more than 200 million copies. He rose to the challenge!
James Clear offers ways that setting limits for ourselves (constraints) can be invigorating. He says:
- Constraints inspire creativity. If you are looking for a job or working towards a promotion you work with what you have. You make lemonade out of lemons. You find ways to reach out to people who can help you. One recent client started writing a blog to get his name out there. Another wrote a paper on a topic that interested him and pertained to his work. Then he blasted his article out to all his contacts and used it to leverage appointments. Get creative within your constraints.
- Constraints force you to get something done. Set goals. One client made a personal goal to have 10 meetings per week. Do you know how many calls he has to make to have 10 meetings per week? A lot! I write 2 blogs per week. Each blog takes about an hour. That means I have time constraints if I want to get everything done. But I get it done because I have to. Set time limits and create a schedule. You will be shocked how much more you can get done.
Recognize the constraints in your life and use them to grow and become more creative. Practice doing more with less resources and see what happens?
If you liked this blog, check out this other Interview Doctor info: