John Cleese’s 3 Steps to Increase Creativity

John CleeseJohn Cleese is one of the best comedy writers and actors that Britain has produced. At a recent event, he was asked about creativity.

Cleese said that his teachers did not recognise the creativity that was within him. “People who don’t have it can’t recognise it,” he said, “Creativity doesn’t have to be taught; it has to be liberated.”

However, the process of being creative is a complicated process. According to Cleese, creating and improving ideas is a three-step cycle that pairs the brain’s slow-moving unconscious with the fast-moving logical side.

Step 1 – Preparation
“You’ve been preparing all your life,” Cleese says, by living and studying and working and thinking, but the task at hand may require asking specific questions of specific people or carrying out other research.

Step 2 – Incubation
Ever notice how the solution to a problem strikes you when you wake up? Give your unconscious a chance to think, starting with a quiet space you can let your mind slowly wander. “Incubation is not about wracking your brain. The enemy of incubation is interruption.”

Step 3 – Inspiration
“That’s the ‘aha’ moment. Hints from the unconscious [need] to be interpreted, and it may take some time.”

This process would explain why an idea seems to come all of a sudden, but in reality, it is a result of long period of observation, fermentation and a rapid coming together perfect moment that leads to a creative explosion!

NB: Parts of this article was originally written and published by the Upstart Business Journal.


Why Do 6 Year Olds Need Spelling Tests?

spellingIs it me? Spelling tests for 6 year olds? Really?

I get the need to spell correctly, but what is the aim of being able to spell? Surely it is to be able to communicate and converse in a written form. However, what is the point of being able to spell correctly if the creative sentence cannot be crafted and created?

The written word has such power to express the emotional state of mankind. Most repressive regimes start by burning books and rounding up those that think and write creatively; it’s not helpful to their aims and desires for power to have people who can able to question and communicate this to others.

I’m aware that I am biased here, but my child is at the stage where writing has such a fascination. She is always writing notes and cards to everyone. It’s an act of love and the misspelt words add to the magic. If we corrected her spelling instead of appreciating the act and the thought, we would dishearten her and the notes would stop. This is not the desired outcome!

I do not like poor spelling, believe me, I spot the typos, but spelling tests for six year olds? Come on! In my opinion, it’s such a crass way to measure education performance of children. Get them to write a story and see how they can communicate and express themselves.

We must teach people (not just children) creative writing, teach them how to spin a yarn, how to express feelings and build confidence, and only then correct the words so they understand how to make what they do even better.

So what if my child cannot spell yet, that will come. I am just loving that right now she loves writing, and I don’t want anything to kill it.

Rant over…