Cleese, Jobs, and Disorderly Dots

A couple of weeks ago I heard John Cleese speak about creativity and reinvention at Content Marketing World. Among his many mind-blowing statements, my favorite was one thing that separating creative people is the difficulty to connect their dots.

An example: if you ask a creative person and an average person to draw a squirrel, the creative’s squirrel won’t take shape until the very end. He can trust in his creativity that the framework he laying out will connect, even if he can’t see it himself. He can be more flexible with his vision if things don’t turn out right.

John Cleese discussing creativity and reinvention at Content Marketing World.

This reminded me of the famous Steve Jobs quote: 

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

This analogy to dot-connecting led me to a conclusion.

Draw many dots…

With the cost of publishing, computing, and sharing almost zero, there is no reason to stall drawing. 

This is my motivation for blogging. I’m just starting out and all over the place. But each post is a dot. The more I draw, the easier it will be easier to connect something.

From videos to screenprints, creativity is easier to harness when you’re using it — even when you’re not sure where it’s heading.

…Connect them sparingly.

My mother taught magic when I was stuck on a math problem: look away, do something else for a while, and come back to it.

It was amazing! Often things that I had spent an hour on would fall into place in minutes.

Connecting dots is similar. Spend too much time trying to map out everything and you’ll fall into the same traps. 

Have goals and be creative. Trust you’ll draw a great squirrel at the end! 

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