Although it’s longish at 13 minutes, JC is a remarkably captivating speaker, and in this case on a subject close to my heart, so if you have time, it’s well worth a watch.
His points can be summarised as follows:
- Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)
- Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)
- Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate the discomfort of pondering time and indecision.)
- Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)
- Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)
There were a couple of other points which he raised which did rather ring a bell with me also. One was that it is so much easier to do trivial, urgent things now (like making phone calls), rather than important, non-urgent things (like thinking).
The other was that it does sometimes take time to progress beyond what is the most obvious solution, and creative people are perhaps more comfortable with not having fully resolved something for a longer period of time.
Reflecting on creativity in general, I was wondering how true it is when some people state, “I’m just not a creative type.” Is creativity perhaps just a habit of thought? I have often suspected so, particularly when highly intelligent people say this.
I was also reflecting on whether or not we have a fixed capacity for creativity at any one time. How full is your creativity bucket? I’ve suspected from time to time that I am a bit faddish in my interests, but now I do begin to wonder if it’s not just that I have a limited amount of, well, time, obviously, but also creative potential at any one moment.
I’m a pretty decent multi-tasker, which means I’m also a great procrastinator, but I can only really be fully creativity engaged in probably two things at once. When I say fully engaged, I don’t mean on a minute-to-minute basis, but rather on the longer time scale of the back burner. As one of those things is sometimes my work, the other might be writing, or painting, or dance or music, but it’s unlikely to be all of them at once. The thought alone is exhausting!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, both on John Cleese’s suggestions for creativity, and also how your own creativity works. 🙂