John Cleese on Creativity

”Set up a space-time oasis, and giggle all you want.”

Wonderful, funny talk on creativity from John Cleese. Video and my notes below…

Two modes of operation:

  • Closed state
    • Efficient
    • Serious
    • Focused
    • War-like mentality
    • Contstant hum of stress
  • Open state - Play: True play is "what happens if I try this?" - Humor - Relaxed - Freedom - Curious - Free from structure The problem is: it’s too easy to get stuck in closed mode

Conditions for creativity

  1. Space: Quiet, undistrurbed space
  2. Time: Seal yourself off. Suspend ordinary life. "Play is distinct from ordinary life". "Create an oasis of quiet".
  3. Time: His recommendation: 1.5hrs. ENough time to get into mode, then stay in it. Be prepared to tolerate the agitation that comes from not having solved the problem. Give your mind enough
  4. Confidence: You're either free to play, or not. There's no such thing as a mistake.
  5. Humor: Gets us from closed to open faster than anything else When working in a group, there's a danger. It can be great . It's easier to be creative if you've got someone to play with. But if there's one person in the room that makes you feel defensive. They'll ruin it..

Creativity in open mode should be like improv. Yes.. and

  • What if we did this too?
  • Would it be even better if
  • Go on
  • What if...?