Adam and I recently finished level 1 Improv Class. It was something that we were always curious about, and I was personally very interested in learning how to go with the flow. So, we did the class and finished it successfully as well.
There is an activity in Improv called Dr.KnowItAll. Three people stand on the stage. The idea is they are one person with three talking heads, and each head can utter one word at a time. The audience asks questions, and the Dr.KnowItAll answers them all.
Let’s say I am on the stage, and the audience asks a question, ‘Are Birds Real?’ What I want to say is, ‘Only If You Can Fly’. I know pretty sassy right. But, I am dependent on what my partners say, and if I try to force-feed my answer, it just makes the situation worse. The answer that comes out might not be what I want, but it is the reality as it is.
Does this sound familiar?
Another exercise or activity in Improv is – Audience gives a keyword, and 2-3 students have to do a skit on it. First, you are dependent on the keyword that the audience gives you. You may have no interest in squirrels, but that’s the word your team got. And now, you are also dependent on what your partners say on stage. You may want to form a squirrel army and take on the world, but your partners on stage may decide to go on a picnic instead.
Does that sound familiar?
All of us have situations in life where things do not go as we planned or wanted them to. I might have wanted all top performers in my team, but I got a mix of high and medium performers. Or I have a team of top performers, but they are not high performing.
Life in general very rarely goes the way imagined it to, right? How many of our and our friend’s lives went as we imagined it to be? Life is Improv.
What Improv teaches you is
- Yes-and: to accept the gift that you are receiving and build on it and pass it on as a gift to others.
- Listen: If we are so busy imagining what life should be like we will miss out on what is happening
- Trust your gut: Your body knows best. Even if you have no idea how the sentence will form, say the word that your gut tells you to.
- Support the team: For it all to work, we all have to be in it together.
Imagine if we lived our life using the above principles. I admit it is hard, especially for type A’s out there who have a higher standard and want things to go a certain way. It is hard to live with an OK answer when you had such a brilliant one in your head.
This is the time to face reality – sometimes you have got to do the best with what you have got – because this is as good as it gets.
How are you going to face reality?