Move the furniture

“No. You’ve got plenty of space up there. We are not having another bookcase in the living room.”

In my study, one wall is composed of bookcases. The second wall is a window. Lined on the window sill are some of my favourite books. The third wall has a wide nook. In that nook is a desk, a filing cabinet and a whiteboard. 

I said to Molly, “I’m gonna run out of book space in a couple months. So I was wondering…” She knew where I was heading and cut me off. I protested. “But I’ve got no space!”

“You have,” she said. “You could put books on top of the bookcases. You could adjust the shelves or put more up. You could move the desk into the middle of the room and put bookcases in the nook.”

Ding ding ding.

The problem? In three months—based on the room’s current layout and my book buying habits—I’m going to have no more space for new books. The obvious solution? Overflow into another room. The less obvious solution? Move the furniture.

Think about any problem you’re having. Perhaps you don’t like your current job but can’t find a new, better one. Or you’re struggling to generate additional income streams. Maybe you’re having a hard time building a network, or managing time, or coping with stress.

Are you, like I was, focusing on what the constraints of the problem are forcing you to do? What it those constraints were self-imposed? 

Maybe you can, as Molly pointed out to me, just move the furniture? Could you fundamentally alter the outline of the problem and unlock new possibilities? Can you come at the problem from a different perspective and find an unexpected answer?