Creativity & ego – a lesson from Jeong Kwan

Volume 3 of the Netflix documentary series Chef’s table kicks off with South Korean buddhist nun Jeong Kwan who approaches cooking as a spiritual practice. Her meals have left some of the world’s most famous and best chefs in awe.

As I love fine dining and am curious about different philosophies, different ways of thinking and approaching things, it was mind-blowing to watch this particular episode.


At one point, Jeong Kwan shares a valuable lesson:

Creativity and ego cannot go together. 

If you free yourself for the comparing and jealous mind, your creativity opens up endlessly. Just as water springs from a fountain, creativity springs from every moment. 

You must not be your own obstacle. 

You must not be owned by the environment you are in. You must own the environment, the phenomenal world around you. You must be able to freely move in and out of your mind. This is being free. 

There’s no way you can’t open up your creativity. There is no ego to speak of. 

Beautiful thoughts that may resonate with you too especially if you’re in the creative industry.


Innovation and change

I’ve admired R. Buckminster Fuller’s work for quite some time. He was an American architect who developed many ideas, designs and inventions. Most particularly, I know him as the patent owner of the structure of a geodesic dome.

This Buckminster Fuller quote is the key to successful radical innovative change in business:

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. – R. Buckminster Fuller


Let the music play

I recently attended a Vivaldi concert that made me think about different styles of leadership and teamwork.

In a classical concert, the orchestra is led by the conductor, the musicians are following  ‘the script’, reading and playing the scores, abiding all the rules. There’s little room for spontaneity and improvisation … though the conductor’s interpretation of the piece may create something different, something unique.



In a jazz act, there’s room for improvisation, a player can jump in or quit at some point. This sense of freedom may create something totally unexpected and unique – for both the musicians and the audience.

One is not better than the other, though the latter is certainly closer to my liking when it comes to music – and business.