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As an improviser, you know the importance of play. If you’re not having fun and being silly, if you’re not in a playful state on stage or in rehearsal – the dreaded “in your head” zone – it’s really hard to have a great scene.

As John Cleese discussed in his brilliant speech on creativity (click here to watch), play is vital not just in the arts, but in every endeavour that requires creative thinking, from engineering to brain surgery.

The problem, according to Ken Robinson, is that creativity is systematically driven out of us by the time most of us are adults. The main reason? Fear of making mistakes; of somehow getting it wrong. And that’s an issue not only for improvisers, but for everyone. Because creativity isn’t just a “nice to have,” it’s a must if we’re to evolve as a civilization.

Of all the TED Talks I’ve seen, this one resonates the most. I’ve probably watched it a dozen times, and will watch it dozens more. Click below to view.

If you enjoyed this video, check out his RSA Animate talk here, and his book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.

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