10 lessons in productivity and brainstorming from The Beatles

I’m rewatching Get Back actually. Picking up on more things on the second go. I don’t know if I would recommend the documentary to anybody who isn’t a Beatles fan. I feel like a lot of people may just watch it as a few guys getting snippy at each other and goofing off. But there’s so much creativity happening in between. What’s amazing about this documentary is that most of us only see a finished product, and don’t see what goes into actually making it. The number of times they need to fuck things up until they hone it to something amazing. Paul coming up with Get Back for example. Where he has nothing but a driving blues rhythm that he is noodling around with on his bass before he comes up with the descending melody on the IV chord and realizes he just found a nugget of something that might work out:

On Fluxx Studio Notes on Medium has a list of 10 lessons that can be taken away from the doc.

1. The ‘yes… and’ rule

The first rule of improvisation (and brainstorming) is “yes… and”. When someone suggests an idea, plays a note, says a line, you accept it completely, then build on it. That’s how improvisational comedy or music flows. The moment someone says ‘no’, the flow is broken. It’s part of deferring judgement, where you strictly separate idea generation from idea selection.

As they slog through Don’t Let Me Down, George breaks the spell. Instead of building and accepting he leaps to judgement, saying “I think it’s awful.” Immediately, John and Paul lay down the rules: “Well, have you got anything?” “you’ve gotta come up with something better”.

Don’t judge, build.

5. Embrace happy accidents

In All Things Must Pass, George wrote the line “A wind can blow those clouds away” but John misreads his handwriting as a “A mind can blow…” which stuck.