The TOA of Improve

A while back I took improve classes to improve my ability to adapt and be more comical on stage.

I had a lot of fun and learned a lot from an amazing, small group of really creative young people.

The first thing we learned was the rules of Improve.

In improve it’s these rules that keep the improve skits and conversations rolling and entertaining.

And so I got thinking to myself what if I started applying these rules to my life .
After all, we are of course, improvising our lives every day.

So I today I thought I would invite you to join me in living an improve life.
Let me teach you a couple of these rules ,so that you can start trying them out in your own lives.

Rule #1: Yes and. This is it, the holy grail, the mantra of improv. Yes and, means that you accept all of your fellow actor’s offers, rather than blocking – denying, ignoring, changing
“The sky is falling”
“Yes and it is a beautiful thing.”

In my sales career I had a product for doctors. Only problem they couldn’t charge extra for using it and it was expensive. So when I would get the objection, “I don’t get paid for it”, I used to start the Yes But …….. Yes but denies what they said. Where as , “Yes! and that is why you should be doing it…. to set yourself apart from the others, that don’t put their patient first”.

There is a Zen-like state of mind to all this. Yes and means that you work with what life offers rather than fighting against it. You stay open and build on other’s ideas, rather than always dismissing, resisting, and jockeying for power.

Rule #2. Act / React. The idea here is that everyone should be always be working to contribute.
Do something means no bystanders. It’s about being courageous and following your instincts. Put something out there and trust that everyone will follow your lead. Take the risk, don’t hold back, make bold choices. Don’t talk about taking action, don’t wait for the “right” moment, act now and see what happens.
We should all take responsibility for creating new relationship – then let others respond, listen, and react and build and then we can build on those on their responses.

The opposite of all this – caution, hesitation, waiting to see what happens and this of coarse puts all the responsibility on those around you. How do you like hanging out with the person that always say what do you want to do? Live bold people. Act say something, do something and see who wants to go with you. Life is too short to be timid.

Rule #3. There are no mistakes. In a good improv everything is incorporated, nothing falls to the wayside. A character’s anger, someone’s limp, the joke that fails, everything gets reacted to. You work with everything that gets offered, and trust that your group will all work together to some how somehow pull it off.
The idea of coarse is that everybody is doing the best they can, that most things that seem to go wrong can be fixed, and that the rewards of spontaneity and risk-taking outweigh those of staying safe.
Worrying about mistakes is living in some uncontrollable future, rather than paying attention to the present.

Life is very short my friends. Too short for worrying about the small things, like what will happen if I just ask for the sale

Try this for a week and perhaps you’ll use it for a life time.
Yes and accept what ever is offered and add to it.
Act. stop hesitating, there is nothing standing in your way. Put something out there and let other see who you are.
Act as if there were no Mistakes

And call Robert Berry Houston Magician, Speaker and Hypnotist for your next company event.