I understand that being an improvisational actor isn’t for everyone, but adopting improvisational techniques will enhance your life.
YES and… The number one rule and really, the only rule in improvisation is YES and. If you deny your partner, your scene will die. Consider this in life. You are given new opportunities everyday. You are. It could be the obvious job offer, free lunch or 50% groupon for shoes. These are easy to say YES to. The opportunities that we deny are the more subtle ones. Consider slowing down as you delete your emails. Take a look at a fundraiser that a co-worker might be promoting. It’s so easy to hit delete. Consider it. Accept it and consider saying YES to it. If your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend wants you to try something new like a dance class or a wine club or a book club, accept it. YES and…
Develop relationships – Improv scenes are never about the object or place or transaction. They are about the relationship between the two actors. Life is no different. Everything we do is to enhance our relationships. Doctors might be attracted to the money, but stay for the patients. Studies have proven that employees will stay with a company if they like the people regardless of pay. We say that it’s all about the money, but statistically, it’s never about the money. If you begin to say YES to those around you, you begin to develop, then strengthen relationships. It’s not about the fundraiser or the dance class, it’s about supporting another human being. Say yes to more people, let go of your preconceived notions and watch your life take off!
Listen and Add – So you are developing relationships by saying Yes and doing new things. Nice work! Now, take it a step further. Listen to people and then add value. An improv scene is only interesting if you can accept what your partner is giving you and you are able to give back. Ask yourself everyday, “what can I do for……?”. I promise that you will receive everything you’ve ever wanted by first helping others get what they want. Ask questions, pay attention and expand your knowledge base.
Give Up – Yep. That’s right. Give up. Give up control. The hardest lesson in improv. Well, for me at least. Learn how to follow. Sure, it’s important to lead, but it’s just as important to learn how to take direction and trust in a process. We grew up in a generation that taught us to question everything. Great. We’ve done that. We are skeptical and critical. Sometimes its okay to give in and see where the world takes us.
I’m interested to hear if any of you try to implement some of this in your day. Give us feedback.