"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Creativity
May 29, 2014

Oblique Strategies

This simple set of cards, created by Brian Eno, are one of the most effective prompts in existence for spurring creative decision making.

The Oblique Strategies set are now in their fifth edition and you can order a set from Brian Eno’s site, or access them via an iOS app.

There’s a few different ways to use the cards, but my favourite is to draw one card when I’m feeling stuck, or unclear how to finish a project. The challenge is to simply trust what the card says, even if following the instruction seems odd or counterintuitive.

Some cards encourage you to back your instincts, some to think back on previous experience, or break down and rethink your project while a few frankly don’t totally make sense at all.

My favorite so far is the card you see in the image above. “Honor they error as a hidden intention.” All too often I react to mistakes with a mix of shame and self doubt. But, that if mistakes are simply a better way trying to reveal itself? It’s a provocative thought. Even if it isn’t always true. It can be enough to help you get unstuck.

But, the point isn’t so much the wisdom of the cards themselves. The oblique strategies aren’t tips or advice, so much as spurs to action, phrases which help grease the cogs of creativity and help you create and finish original work.

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