“I was embarrassed that I lost our work, so I rewrote it from memory, straight off in a hurry. Then I discovered the original and the one I’d done very quickly was better than the original. I didn’t spend any time thinking about it, so how could it be better than the original?”
“The first thing he discovered is that the creative architects knew how to play. They could get immersed in a problem. It was almost childlike, like when a child gets utterly absorbed in a problem. The second thing was that they deferred making decisions as long as they could. This is surprising.
If you have a decision to make, what is the single most important question to ask yourself? I believe it’s ‘when does this decision have to be made’? When most of us have a problem that’s a little bit unresolved, we’re a little bit uncomfortable. We want to resolve it. The creative architects had this tolerance for this discomfort we all feel when we leave things unresolved.”
— John Cleese (2012) 4 Lessons in Creativity
All the stories told by John Cleese are excellent, but in particular I like these passages because they highlight the complexity of the creative process and its relation with the unconscious mind and the relationship between the tolerance of frustration and creativity.
In the stories there are also interesting bits of pragmatism, showing for example how taking time to relax and open the mind helps, or how rewriting something from memory can help a lot. This latter thing isn’t that much different from the concept of iterating multiple times on the same design, or sketching before doing the final work.
Thanks to Giulio Martinelli for the link.