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Bridges amaze me. Partly because I have no idea how to build them and yet we all desperately need them. Imagine the first bridge ever built. Some guy is sitting around his house, or hut, or… well, you get the idea. He’s sitting around and suddenly an abstract, artistic idea hits him. He thinks… “I’m gonna build this complicated feat of physics… to express myself.” Boom, the bridge was born.

Can you feel the sarcasm? Actually, that’s not how it happens at all. The greatest creativity comes from the greatest degree of necessity. Maybe it was more like this: A guy and his family and all of their belongings are trying to get from here to there. And in between? A river. He really doesn’t have time to find a natural crossing, he needs to cross here, and now. A need has arisen, and inspiration strikes. “I’ll build something that gets me across, and I’ll call it a bridge.”

You see, the greatest catalyst for creativity and innovation is a problem. An obstacle. Something that you, or those who came before you just can’t seem to sort out. When you face something that must be solved, it forces you to draw on all of your creative passion and innovative instincts to solve that problem.

The next time you encounter a problem — whether it’s a river crossing, overcoming the status quo, launching your own business, or helping your kid with homework — don’t take the easy way. It doesn’t really matter what the problem is. Be creative. Be innovative. Solve a problem and build a bridge from here to there.