The bet that changed our minds.

It’s 1960………..

Two men made a bet.

One man is a publisher named Bennett Cerf.

One man is an author named Theo Geisel. 

$50 on the line.  

This appears insignificant to me and you.

Its not !

By the end of this blog

You will know what the bet was about. who won . why they won. And why it matters….

Even to you ………. 

I promise.  It does.  Just keep reading……….. 


My name is Belal Alawi. I am a psychology major with a keen interest in how creative minds work…


After reading dozens of books written on creativity written by  

  • Advertisers
  •  Novelists
  •  Entrepreneurs 
  • CEOS
  • Inventors
  • Designers
  •  Philosophers
  • cognitive psychologists…….


I have come across a few insights that can make even a chimpanzee more creative…..



I am here to share with you One of these insights ( yes this is connected to the bet we talked about earlier) 


This insight will give you the power to  manipulate your own mind to….

1. Generate new ideas 

2. Come up with novel solutions to real world problems…

 Before I tell you about the insight and the bet…

please allow me to share with you my favorite quote of all time by one the greatest psychologists of the 21st century……




Why do I love this quote ? 

At one point in my life I came to accept that I can’t control the external world but only myself and how I react to it.  

Accepting this …

– Put me at peace and helped me only focus on what I can control. 

– Prepare for obstacles instead of complaining. 

– Embrace uncertainty and see it as a chance to grow. 

This doesn’t mean you should stop planning.

It just means you should make a part of your plan that your plan will not always work

 Be prepared to improvise …


BTW: Click on pic if you want to participate in sharing you favorite quote of all time.


Ok….. back to creativity …………….


Insight = use constraints to direct your mind


What if I ask you: 

tell me a story :  Chances are you won’t know where to start, your mind will be all over the place searching for a story. Chances are you wouldn’t come up with a very unique story quickly. 

You will stumble and struggle.

 Your mind might be overwhelmed  because telling your mind to tell a story is too broad.

Let’s say  add some constraints and see what happens to your mind….


tell me a personal story in your freshman year in college:

These constraints force your mind will begin to remember a few stories, maybe the first time you entered the cafeteria or how you met your friend, or maybe your first day in ct 101 class .


Noticed what changed ?

 Constraints direct and force your mind  to  narrow down and be more creative. 


Think of it like this………. 



no  Constraints                                                               Constraints



Or like this……….

no  Constraints                                                               Constraints





 The bet. 

The man named Bennett Cerf  was the founder of the publishing firm, Random House( you probably don’t know him)



The second man named Theo Geisel is the famous author you might know him as……….












Dr. Seuss.


 Cerf challenged that Dr. Seuss and bet $50 that he can’t write a book using only 50 different words

Dr. Seuss took on the challenge and wrote the best selling book Green Eggs and Ham using only 50 different words. It has sold 200 million copies since it was published. 


Dr Suess won the 50 dollars and won the bet. 

You also won by reading my blog and finding out the power of constraints . 

Go out there and CREATE but remember…..

This is your brain without constraints = 

And this is your brain with constraints



Assignment 2- make a sports poster.


check out to create amazing new posters.






2 thoughts on “The bet that changed our minds.”

  1. Belal, you are 2 for 2 with epic posts in my eyes. I’ve always loved a good quote and your breakdown of mental constraints was spot on for me. So right. Great job dude.

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