creativity

“Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.”

John Cleese gave this speech back in the 1990’s about creativity. Apparently he was a bit of a student of the topic. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

His main point was that creativity is not something that you have or don’t have. And it is not related to traditional intelligence.

Creativity is a mood – an open, curious, and playful way of operating. He calls this playful, creative state “open mode”, whereas we normally go through life in “closed mode”, basically trying to get stuff done.

To be fully effective, a creative person needs to juggle both modes well. After all, you’ve got to find the creative flow and keep your projects on track to actually get sh*t done.

(Thoughtfully subtitled in German πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ). Full version of the speech here.

This creative “open mode” is subconscious and requires de-focusing in a way. In other words, you can’t force creative breakthroughs. It is in this relaxed open mode where the creative magic happens. You just need to allow yourself the time and other factors to let yourself be creative.

This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If just you keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious.

One reason I liked improv class was that it forces you into this open, playful mode (even when you are terrified).

Hopefully, when creativity is applied consistently over time, then great things can happen. πŸ€“

creativity · You

Genius Happens When You’re Not Thinking

I love the idea that your brain makes its most interesting breakthroughs and connections when you’re not actively thinking. It is well stated in this article.

πŸ‘‰ Your Unconscious Mind Is a Supercomputer. Use It to Achieve Breakthroughs.

With really interesting problems, you usually don’t need to think harder. You need to relax and let you mind do its thing while you sleep or do errands. That is when genius strikes. ⚑️

Creativity is all about making interesting connections. Albert Einstein called it “combination play.”

In my experience, this unconscious combo play is important for figuring out what do to and not so much how to do it. Once the what is clear in your mind, it can be followed by all the conscious thinking and hard work to get it done. Unfortunately, that part does not happen in your sleep. πŸ˜‰

As a side note, there is also a beautiful space when your mind is so immediate and present that is simply doesn’t have time to think. This is what I like about improv. And also baseball.

You can’t think and hit at the same time.

Yogi Berra (maybe)
Music · You

MGMT and Buddha Agree on Solutide

With a little more time to myself right now, it’s good to have reminder that this is not a bad thing. So say two opposing forces: MGMT and Buddah. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I don’t love all the hedonistic fantasy of the MGMT song Time to Pretend, but the song does rock, and this line stands out:

I’ll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone.

And apparently Buddha had given being alone even more thought. πŸ€” This video is worth three minutes if you’re feeling lonely.

You

The Smarter You Become, the Less You Speak (Keanu Reeves Edition)

With Keanu Reeves as an example, this post explores the power of being purposefully quiet.

πŸ‘‰ Be Aware of the Quiet Ones like Keanu Reeves β€” They Are the Ones That Actually Make You Think

Quiet people make you think.
Thinking brings clarity.
Thinking can lead to change.

I actually didn’t know Keanu had this side to him. But it is helpful to be reminded by a Hollywood star of all people that being quite and thoughtful is a good thing.

Being quiet: brings people closer, breeds curiosity, interrupts the pattern, and allows time for reflection.

Not bad, Keanu. Maybe he is the cooler, calmer alter-ego to Russell Brand?

Image for post
creativity · Software Dev

The Prototype Mindset

We developers spend so much time focusing on the details of our work that we sometimes forget about the big picture. The presentation below from try! Swift Tokyo has some really helpful perspective. 🀯

Think about building the right thing before building it right.

Why are you making software? Know your motivations. It affects how you do your job.

Who do you write code for? Think about how you relate to your company and the end user.

What happens when your tech stack changes? Be resilient in your career. Try new things while also shipping apps.

Be less precious about code.

Realistically, how long will this code last? How robust is robust enough? Be pragmatic. Almost all the code I’ve written in the last few years is gone by now, either retired or completely rewritten.

Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t hold back out out fear.

Real artists ship.

Steve Jobs

How often do you test? Unit tests are a means to an end. Passing unit tests alone does not mean it’s a good app.

Via iOS Dev Weekly.

You

The Shortest Self-Help Book You’ll Ever Read

Having now read enough (too many) self-help books, I was starting to think that they all overlap and are just saying different variations of the same thing. I feel like I have unofficially graduated from self-help school. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸŽ“

So I was happy to see this post that basically captures all of the self help out there in one concise list. It’s a really good summary of how to take charge of your life and your own happiness. It has “chapters” on goals, limiting beliefs, growth mindset, thinking too much, self-care, gratitude, and all the other top hits.

πŸ‘‰ The Shortest Self-Help Book You’ll Ever Read

My favorite quote is from The Mortality Chapter.

You have to go about every day like you might live forever, but also like you might die tomorrow afternoon.

That pretty well describes one of the key tensions in life. Well said, Jessica Wildfire (is that a pen name or what?).

creativity · You

Maslow’s Pyramid

A while back, I posted a link to the Artist’s Hierarchy of Needs. The idea seemed useful, although it was not a hierarchy per se, but more of just a list. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I think the idea of the artist’s hierarchy was inspired Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is more of a real hierarchy. So it’s kind of cool to see this post.

πŸ‘‰ SELF CARE PART 2: CREATIVE HIERARCHY OF NEEDS

Basically it says that you need take good care of yourself before you can aspire to your “ultimate self-actualization”. I guess that’s super obvious, but still it makes for a cool idea and a good visual. πŸ˜†

Picture

And the Creatively, LLC blog looks great overall beyond this post. I like their motto, “Create Your Best Life”. Via Fresh Ink Austin