10 Feb 2011

John Cleese on Creativity? Yes, Please.

A few years ago, John Cleese was one of the keynote speakers at the Creativity World Forum in my home town. Parts of that talk are available as an online video, and I want to share it here for several reasons:
  1. I think he's brilliant.
  2. Monty Python (and many other projects he was involved in), has had a huge impact on my sense of humour. (Whether or not that's something to be grateful for is of course open for debate.)
  3. I totally agree with what he says, especially about the importance of giving our unconscious minds time and opportunity to digest information. He also talks about creating the right mood for creativity rather than using brute force.
Here's the (10 minute) video:

3 takeaway quotes:
  • 'Each day I want to learn something new, because I'm very very old and will be dead soon, so I want to be as well-informed as I can possibly be when I die.'
  • 'You have to create boundaries of space, and you have to create boundaries of time.' (Interruption is disastrous to the creative process.)
  • 'To know how good you are at something requires the same skills as it does to be good at them.' Or, put differently: 'Most people who have absolutely no idea what they're doing have absolutely no idea that they have no idea what they're doing. It explains a great deal of life.'

Which part of what he said stood out for you?
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  1. Great video, love him! I completely related to his tortoise mind analogy/boundaries of space and time, but I really connected to the idea of re-writing something from memory, I found that very interesting, a great exercise. Also the idea of many denying creativity and/or not recognizing or even discouraging creativity in others...

  2. Me too! I loved his image of the tortoise, slightly nervous, peeking out to see if it's safe to play.

    To me, creativity is about finding one's personal, unique way of creating, of contributing something that matters, whatever that might mean in the context of the person or people involved.

    Quite possibly the most individual path one can walk.


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