« Right Brain Workouts

Deadlines

By Peter Lloyd

According to an old article in Discover magazine, Russian scientist and intrepid innovator Andrei Linde has set his creative sights on nothing less than understanding what life is. His method is to study the boundaries of the irrational with the tools of rationality.

Applying this creative approach, he helped formulate the current grand unification theories. His own "chaotic inflation" theory is the kind of thinking that, at first, only other geniuses can understand.

But in 1986, Linde ran out of ideas and fell, in his own mind, from the heights of the theoretical playing field into a deadening depression. He couldn't get out of bed.

Then he received orders from the Soviet Academy of Sciences to deliver a speech at a meeting in Italy. They didn't want to hear any of his known theories either. They wanted new stuff.

Linde seized this irrational demand and conceived in half an hour the notion of the self-replicating universe.

There's nothing more irrational to the creative mind than the deadline. What difference does it make when an idea is completed? "Ideas take whatever time they take," the creative person argues. And yet when you give a creative person like Linde a serious deadline, you get results.

The last time I checked, Linde was working on the possibility of creating other universes. I wonder, what would happen if someone were to tell him, "You've got six days, Andrei."

Peter Lloyd is co-creator with Stephen Grossman of Animal Crackers, the breakthrough problem-solving tool designed to crack your toughest business problems.

Right Brain Workouts Explained
Next Workout »
Newsletter Sign Up

Join 40,000+ subscribers who receive our Innovation Newsletter each week.

Subscribe