John Cleese on creativity

With the news that Monty Python are putting together a new(ish) show, now seems like a good time to revisit John Cleese’s talk on how to approach the challenge of being creative, some frankly dodgy jokes but a lot of interesting ideas too…


Five conditions that make creativity more likely:

  1. Space – a place in which you can think undisturbed
  2. Time – a specific period in which to think about a problem, with a start and finish time. i.e blocks of 90 minutes with good gaps in between perhaps of a week.
  3. Time – give yourself as long as possible to come up with the best solution. If there is a deadline stick to it but give yourself the whole time, resist just jumping at the first solution.
  4. Confidence – be prepared to make mistakes, be open to whatever might happen; ‘whilst you are being creative nothing is wrong’.
  5. Humor – laughter helps relaxation and humour helps us be more open, creativity like jokes often comes from the unexpected juxtaposition of two unlikely ideas.

Having created these conditions you then need to keep your mind pondering around the problem for as long as you can.


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