“In life, most of us are highly skilled at suppressing action. All the improvisation teacher has to do is to reverse this skill and he creates very ‘gifted’ improvisers. Bad improvisers block action, often with a high degree of skill. Good improvisers develop action.” ― Malcolm Gladwell,
I recently read a book where the author spoke about Improv (Blink by Malcolm Gladwell).
He said that great improv is all about saying yes to everything that your improv partners say or do.
There is no dissension, there is no discussion, there is no argument.
There is just ‘Yes’. You do not suppress action as the quote above says, you develop action as a good improviser. I am not really familiar with improv in general, this being the first time I read about it. But the analogy between life and improv is so clear, I had to write about it.
As in improv, life is all about saying ‘Yes’.
We spend way too much time and energy analyzing, discussing, dissecting, thinking, worrying, and generally saying ‘No’ by delaying reaction.
Recently, I have tried a new way of doing things.
I have decided to say ‘Yes’ to whatever life throws at my fragile body.
‘Yes’ to meeting new people.
‘Yes’ to trying out a new activity.
‘Yes’ to trying a new scary pose in yoga.
‘Yes’ to trying a new genre of music.
‘Yes’ to walking a different route to work.
‘Yes’ to trying out a new outfit that I would never consider before.
‘Yes’ to saying I like you to someone whom you’ve just met.
‘Yes’ to long hugs with people who aren’t huggers.
‘Yes’ to dancing in the rain like a child.
‘Yes’ to loving myself even though I’m imperfect.
‘Yes’ to singing in the subway station while others stare.
‘Yes’ to helping someone out even if they don’t ask.
There are hundreds of other tiny examples in daily life where we can say ‘Yes’ instead of ‘No’ or ‘Maybe later’ or ‘Let me think about it’ or ‘I will look foolish’ or ‘I am not good at that’ or ‘I am an adult, I can’t do that’.
Whatever your excuse might be, try sweeping it all off the table and moving towards the zone of ‘Yes’.
And, no, it isn’t easier said than done.
It’s all about practice. Just start off slowly. Start off with the small stuff, and the bigger stuff will get easier. The first time you do anything, you are not going to an expert at it, no matter who you are. But as you do that item more and more, you will get good at it.
You will get to that point eventually that saying ‘No’ will be the harder route to take. Saying ‘Yes’ will become instinctual and natural. Let’s all try to move slowly towards where everyone says ‘Yes’ to what life lobs at us. Can you imagine this magical place? I can and I’m excited for it. There might even be fairies in such a place.
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