Monday, 10 March 2014


So, I will just start with this video. It is quite a long, and I am sure nearly every other person writing about creativity has used this an an example too, but it is well worth a watch. John Cleese makes some invaluable points on creativity; I want to discuss what he had to say on the matter.

Firstly it is important not to treat creativity as a talent, because it is not. It is more like a way of thinking, a way of life, Cleese discusses this and then goes on to discuss the different states of mind. He narrows it down to two types of thinking, the open mode and the closed mode.
So the main traits of each mode are; in the open mode, you are relaxed, you are playful, both of which are key to being creative. Where as the closed mode, is usually under pressure, you are questioning yourself, being critical and makes it a struggle for yourself to be creative.
As I am well aware being under pressure and being a bit anxious makes it incredible hard to be creative, pressure stops natural creativity. But of course, sometimes we are under pressure and are expected to be creative and do work, can we adapt to work under both modes? Or just avoid the closed mode all together?

Cleese also addresses this; to stop pressure on oneself, planning and reviewing our progress would help with that. Planning and reviewing can be done in the closed mode, being more critical of oneself and being more organised. Where as when actually working you want to be relaxed and have an open mind.
'To be at our most efficient we need to be able to switch backwards and forwards between the two modes. But here is the problem, we too often get stuck in the closed mode'
We must learn to use both modes to progress and influence our creativity. But it is very true that we too often get stuck in the closed mind. You know you have a problem to solve, yet you sit and worry about it, and every other mundane problem that pops into your head.

He also goes on to discuss the best way of getting back into the open mode and to let yourself be creative.
He states that you need these things; space, time, confidence and humor.
You need your own space, somewhere quiet, secluded and private. You need to create a little oasis for yourself where you can relax and let your mind wander.
Secondly you need time, give yourself enough time to relax, let the other problems fade and then enough time to let some creativity happen. Undoubtedly as soon as you have time to yourself your mind will buzz, worrying about day to day tasks you need to have done or other projects you also need to work on. Getting into the right mind for precisely what you are working on is the hardest part.
Cleese says that part of being creative is having the ability to over look these little problems, to tolerate them for the time being so that your mind can relax and be free to create. If you can achieve this, you will spend longer looking at the problem, which in the long run can lead to more creative outcomes.

Once you have your oasis and you have let your mind be completely open, it is still important to have some confidence. The worse thing for crushing creativity is the fear of being wrong, the fear of failure. It is important to look at creativity as subjective, it is never wrong and never right. It is important to believe that whatever happens, whatever brain farts you have are ok, anything may lead to a breakthrough.
A good way of helping your confidence is through humor, the best way to get to the open mode is through laughter.
I can strongly relate to this, the amount of times I have been sat around with friends, laughing over silly ideas we are coming out with, that then may lead onto a sound and strong idea, especially throughout our group project.
'Humor is an essential part of spontaneity, an essential part of playfulness, essential part of the creativity we need to solve problems no matter how serious they may be.'

To lead on from that, surrounding ones self with creative open minded people, always helps increase your own creativity. I am incredibly fortunate to be constantly surrounded by people I trust and am relaxed around, who all have wonderful creative minds. One of my favourite things about our community at university is how we all bounce off of one another, our ideas are pushed further and we all develop as a group of creatives taking pride in each others success.
In my opinion, getting into the open mode is easiest in that environment, I would not have developed as an artist as fast without that surrounding me.

Sorry guys! (No regrets)

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