A quote from John Cleese

Something inspirational:

“We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode. Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful. If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies. When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don’t waste energy trying to see the funny side of it. Do it in the “closed” mode. But the moment the action is over, try to return to the “open” mode—to open your mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to tell whether the action has been successful, or whether further action is need to improve on what we have done. In other words, we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent.”


14 Apr, 2013

8 thoughts on “A quote from John Cleese

  1. It may depend on environmental circumstances that an individual is subjected to that will determine which mode to use.

    I normally operate in an open mode, but, both modes are necessary tools to help navigate life.

    1. Thanks Tim. I believe you’re right it does depend on the environmental circumstances at the time.

      It would be very easy to get stuck in ‘closed mode’ full time, but in the longer term I believe the ‘closed mode’ may be the more damaging as we will fail to make any progress.

      There are specific circumstances where operating in ‘closed mode’ will work better, but sticking to that mode in the longer term means we’ve already subconsciously given up on finding a way forward.

      There are so many people I know who operate the ‘closed mode’ but I always choose to use the ‘open mode,’ even though it can be a little harder. It’s harder because we have to be more pro-active to use it and that’s not always easy.

      Although it’s not always easy, I believe it’s worth the effort in the longer term if it helps us change something in our life.

  2. Ilana I agree that it can be dangerously easy to get stuck in closed mode full time and being in closed mode too long is not the best recipe for good mental health.

    Thought provoking quote.

    1. It certainly is thought provoking and probably not something we realise. Only others will see it, we don’t usually see it in ourselves. Thanks Tim.

  3. This is a good quote and I think Tim’s point is excellent.

    The modes themselves are not necessarily an issue, it’s how and when we find ourselves in those modes that determines whether at that particular point, it’s appropriate or inappropriate for us.

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