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Improvisers say "yes", obviously.
Not just on stage. But everywhere. All of our training has led us to subconsciously become more agreeable people. Certainly, I find that's the case for myself.
My music has often kept me at home or made me rush back home from whichever event at whatever place. Whether related to the business side or the creative side of things, I've always got a pretty good excuse to get back home and back to work.
I remember one time I was getting picked up by friends at 7pm. Stupidly, as if I didn't even know myself, I picked up a guitar at 6:50 and in that ten minutes came up with a melody I really liked. The result of this? I spent the entire night humming it to myself so that I wouldn't forget it. This was before I had a simple voice memo function on my phone. Fair to say, I was probably horrible company that night.
Since sinking my teeth into improv, I actually feel more free to chase whimsies and live in the present, like improv is the best life coach on the planet. I'm not talking about anything crazy or out of the ordinary, but instead about very simple things. For example, yesterday I had an improv session with some of the guys I do "The Movie" format with and we finished at 2pm. "Old me" thought he was going to grab lunch and rush home to get some work (or, let's face it, procrastination) done. We said goodbye to each other before Tim asked "What are you doing, Broni?" I replied that I was getting lunch and a coffee and going home. He asked "anyone else want to do that?", and "YES! YES! YES!" we all said. We continued to laugh all afternoon. If you're thinking "So what, I'm already a social butterfly and this happens all the time!" then shoosh your mouth because I usually forget to be in the moment, unless that moment is after a four-count from a drummer.
One of our Improv Conspiracy friends spent his 30th birthday skydiving, and guess who went with him? Not me, as I was too terrified and poor... but other improvisers! A whole range of his friends were offered the adventure, yet I felt it was quite symbolic, and serves this post quite well that the only people that said yes were improvisers. Those of you poking holes in my paragraphs will note that I personally said NO, but once again please shoosh your mouth.
I've recently been helping out with the Improv Conspiracy Level 1 Workshop, and it is so fascinating to watch the whole 'yes, and' nature of things develop in these lovely people. Each week they are more open to things than the last. I love it.
I see it so clearly in my own life. I'm busier and have more commitments than "old me" would like to have, but somehow I'm less stressed. Improv is this crazy, beautiful, calming beast. It really teaches you to be present, all the time.
If you're thinking about taking a class and you're reading this blog, note that this is not an advertisement, but it IS an endorsement. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made, and I feel like I'm a better person even when I'm not improvising because of it. But really, in life when AREN'T we improvising?
Sometimes I think we are just a bunch of folks making things up to make each other laugh. Other times I think "This is important! I'm making myself better at life, and I'm laughing at the same time!"
My body hasn't learnt from all this improv how to say "yes" to dairy yet, but I'm hoping it figures that out. I love cheese.
Broni Lisle is the Education Director as well as a performer, instructor and coach with The Improv Conspiracy.
You can check him out on YouTube, or on Twitter, or grab his music from BroniMusic.com
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