Creativity: Less, More and Billy the Goat

When it comes to options, do you prefer having more or less? When it comes to ideas – is it easier for you to produce more or less?

Let’s find out. If you like, you can play along and actually do the tasks!


Task one: “Tell a made-up story on a topic of your choice.”

Come on, give it a try – you can whisper it if there are people around you right now!

Easy, hard?

Task two: Tell a made-up story featuring ‘Billy the Goat’ and a stolen diamond ring.”

Easy, hard?

If you’re like most people, the second one was a lot easier. Billy the Goat and a stolen diamond ring limited your options… And that was a good thing! Constraints boost creativity.


Task three: “Imagine you’re applying for a job. Come up with an idea for a one-minute introduction video you will record.”

Easy, hard?

Task four: “Imagine you’re applying for a job. Come up with ten ideas for a 1-minute introduction video you will record.”

Easy, hard?

It might seem that producing one idea is much easier than producing ten. Yet, in real life, the latter is often much easier. When people have just one option to come up with, their inner critic is on high alert and kills every idea before it gets anywhere. When people know they need to come up with ten… the inner critic gives up!


If you ever get stuck, limit your options, increase your output target tenfold.

If nothing else, it will make you reconsider feeling stuck the next time!

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