Flipped Lecture Four: A Lecture on Creativity

15 Oct

Much has been said about how creativity works, its secrets, its origins, and what we can do to optimize ourselves for it. In this excerpt from his fantastic 1991 lecture, John Cleese offers a recipe for creativity, delivered with his signature blend of cultural insight and comedic genius.

5 factors that you can arrange to make your lives more creative, as explained by John Cleese, are as follows:

  1. Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)
  2. Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)
  3. Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate thediscomfort of pondering time and indecision.)
  4. Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)
  5. Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)

Who is John Cleese?

John Cleese is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report. In the late 1960s he became a member of Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the four Monty Python films: And Now for Something Completely DifferentThe Holy GrailLife of Brian and The Meaning of Life.

In the mid 1970s, Cleese and his first wife, Connie Booth, co-wrote and starred in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers. Later, he co-starred with Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis and former Python colleague Michael Palin in A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures. He also starred in Clockwise, and has appeared in many other films, including two James Bond films as Q, two Harry Potter films, and three Shrek films.

Key Ideas I found in this Lecture:

Creativity and Cleese seem to go hand in hand – which is why I personally found this lecture to be really interesting. It isnt often that an audience gets insight into the mind of one of the worlds funniest and yes, creative geniuses. I walked away from this lecture questioning my own level of creativity – but then I realised, that’s just what Cleese’s lecture was about – the fact that everyone is creative, or can be creative & the very reason why people give up on their efforts is because initially they may be disappointed with the result. But, like Cleese suggests, creativity, and more importantly, inspiration for creativity takes effort and time – and of course, Cleese’s 5 steps for creativity!

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