John Cleese on the Modes of Creativity

John Cleese who is well known for his role in the comedy troupe, Monty Python, gives an entertaining & educational talk on creativity that is well worth your time to watch!

In this talk Cleese explains the creativity mode, saying that “Creativity is not an ability that you either have or have not, it is absolutely unrelated to IQ…creativity is not a talent, it is a way of operating.”  He explains that there are two modes that we operate on; open & closed.  The open mode is one of childlike exploration whereas the closed mode is one that is more purposeful in it’s nature.  Creativity only happens in the open mode where we are able to explore & play with our ideas whereas in the closed mode we are able to set concrete goals & implement the ideas.  He states, “… to be at our most efficient we need to be able to switch backwards & forwards between the two modes…we need to be in the open mode when we are pondering a problem but once we come up with a solution, we must switch to the closed mode to implement it.”

He explains that too often we get caught in the closed mode prioritizing the things that we feel are urgent & easily completed, but lose sight of the things that are more important but cause us to leave our comfort zone.  Cleese talks of the five things needed to get into a creative mode; 1)Space 2)Time 3)Time 4)Confidence 5)Humor.  Scheduling the time to be in the open mode is essential.  He says that carving out 1 hour & 30 minutes would be ideal to achieve this creative state of being.

This concept of scheduled time is a form of meditation.  You create the time & space for this creative thought process to happen.  A large part of the time is spent quieting or emptying the chatter of the mind so that the mind may open & allow space for exploration of your thoughts, your inner creative.  Too often we begin this process but don’t allow ourselves the time to go beyond the chatter into the most inner chambers of the mind where the creativity lies.  Scheduling this time & learning patience is imperative to finding your creative mode & exercising it so that it may balance out with the typically overdeveloped practical side.  Once you begin to practice this creativity mode you will be able to more effectively pursue & realize your passions.

I challenge you to schedule 1 hour & 3o minutes each week to begin this creative process as part of your lifestyle & see where it takes you.


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