John Cleese on Creativity


John Cleese gives a great talk on creativity, mentioning how humor is instrumental in getting into an “open mode.” My biggest take away:

“Humor is an essential part of spontaneity, an essential part of playfulness, an essential part of the creativity we need to solve problem, no matter how serious they may be.” – John Cleese

More notes after the video.

Some highlights for me:

  • Creativity is not innate, it is a way of thinking.
  • McKinnon states that creativity comes best to those who have an ability to play.
  • Humor always accompanies a wider perspective.
  • Key attributes to creativity: curiosity, play, humor.
  • Two mindsets: open which is great for creativity. Closed which is better for execution.
  • 5 things to open mode: 1, space, 2 time, 3 time, 4 confidence, 5 22 inch waist humor.
  • It is easier to trivial things that are urgent than it is to important things that aren’t urgent.
  • 90 minutes is the ideal time for open mode — it takes 30 minutes to get into an oasis and then 60 minutes of thinking. After that it you’ll want to take a break.
  • You can’t be playful if you have a fear of being “wrong.”
  • While you’re being creativity, there’s no such thing as a mistake.
  • Humor is the quickest way to go from the closed mode to open mode.
  • Serious does not mean being solemn. You can be talking about very serious things while laughing.
  • It’s easier to be creative when you have people to play with.
  • Creativity is like humor. In a joke, the laugh comes at a moment when you connect two different frameworks of reference in a new way. Having a new idea is the same thing. Connecting two, hitherto separate ideas, in a way that generates new meaning.

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