How constraints can make more possible

You may not think you’d enjoy a 25-minute video of someone solving a Sudoku puzzle, but that’s only because you haven’t seen this one that went viral last year. If you don’t have time to watch all of it now, just skip the first two minutes, then watch a bit to get the gist of it:

I love this video. Notice how rules that seemed so limiting are what made that puzzle possible. Every game you’ve ever played had rules. We tend to think of the ways that rules constrain us, but it’s the rules that make a game fun. Imagine how boring it would be to play a version of charades where you can talk, or even just tell your team what to guess. The constraints of a game are what make it a game.

Constraints do even more for us, like boost our creativity. A multitude of studies shows how the right limitations help teams focus better on goals and try ideas they wouldn’t otherwise consider.

Going one step further, consider your personal standards and values. What would you never do, and what do you strive to always do? Not all rules, constraints, and values are worthy, but the right ones enable us to do far more than we could do without them. Just think of what integrity, honesty, accountability, and caring for others makes possible for you.

Because we honor him this week, here’s an insight from Dr. King on how power constrained and guided by love helps us do more.

Now, we got to get this thing right. Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. And this is what we must see as we move on.

“Where Do We Go From Here?” delivered on August 16, 1967

What standards, rules, constraints, and values can you set for yourself to help you do more?

Seeing Good at Work

Building a just society in the United States requires us to better understand where systemic injustice is happening. In our legal system, criminal sentencing around the country continues to be wildly inconsistent and racially biased.

Measures for Justice collects criminal justice data on hundreds of counties in twenty states throughout the US. Their work is shining a clear light on unequal treatment and has inspired multiple states to adopt more transparent data collection on their court systems, so that inequities can be better identified and addressed.

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