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Lifehacker JULY 29, 2014 - by Mark Wilson
BRIAN ENO'S OBLIQUE STRATEGIES CARDS BREAK DOWN CREATIVE BLOCKS
We all encounter creative blocks from time to time. Writers suffer with writers' block, but people in all fields of work hit a wall every now and then. Oblique Strategies is a set of cards that offer a little creative inspiration when you need it most.
The deck is the brainchild of musician and artist Brian Eno - most readily associated with Roxy Music, David Bowie, and Talking Heads. Devised in conjunction with artist Peter Schmidt, Oblique Strategies' aim is to encourage lateral thinking. For example "Try faking it!", "What to increase? What to reduce?", and "Don't be afraid of things because they're easy to do".
The real beauty is that there are no "rules" for using them. These are not positive affirmation cards or a Tarot deck. If you feel like pulling one card, pull one; if you prefer four arranged in a square and want to place more significance on the lower left on, then go for it. The idea is to just set your mind off on a tangent, and who knows where it could lead.
I heard about these cards several years ago and immediately bought a deck. While I don't refer to them every day, they call to me from time to time. I find they're great to draw on in the bleak hours of depressing inaction. Pulling out the card "Don't be afraid of things because they're easy to do" - or one of the scores of others - can be enough to tip my brain in the right direction. Sometimes they'll spark a discussion about something entirely unrelated, but I'll eventually circle back with fresh ideas. They're a little weird, a little avant garde, and superbly inspiring.
You can pick up a deck of Oblique Strategies for a shade over $50 (or £30).