Do remember when you were a kid and you got to play?
You just made stuff up and it was the best when everyone agreed to play along too. And it was the best when whatever your friends did was cool too and they felt the same about your ideas. And all of that, although as kids we were too young to recognize it, was based on agreement.
You all agreed to accept and add to whatever idea each one of you had. And it often fell apart when someone didn’t agree or had their own idea that had no room for yours.
Well, what if in life, our default attitude was to agree and accept another’s idea and then see how you could work together to make something special happen? That the experience of adding to and fostering another’s idea was the best part of it all? Those are the basic rules you learn in an improv class.
Yes, I accept your idea. And, here’s something to add to it. And let’s see where this goes, together. And there’s no preconceived notion of how it’s going to turn out.
I challenge you to try this out in your life. It’s really hard. Really. Freaking. Hard. And this is where the second thing you learn in an improv class comes in.
You gotta learn to listen. Really listen to what your improv partner is saying. You have to let them finish what they’re saying. You listen with an open and accepting mind.
Try this in your real life. See if you can catch yourself forming your response before they even finish their thought. Because we do that all the time. Then try listening without thinking about what you’re going to say until they’re done talking. It’s pretty cool.
Life is one big improv scene. And it’s cool to play like kids again.
- By Scott Pargot