Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good Advice From the World of Improvisation

I just finished reading Tina Fey's book Bossy Pants. My eldest daughter gave me this book, and Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, for Christmas. They are both great fun.

Tina Fey worked her way into television through Chicago's Second City improvisation theater and in her book she offers a set of Rules of Improvisation that she says can be applied to everyday life. I've extracted the main heads here; the full thing is well worth reading as is the whole book itself.

  • The first rule of improvisation is AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES.
    • In real life, you aren't always going to agree, but this rule reminds us to try to keep an open mind.
  • The second rule is to not only say yes, but to say YES, AND...
    • Don't be afraid to contribute. Make sure you are adding something to the discussion.
  • The third rule is to MAKE STATEMENTS.
    • Whatever the problem, don't just ask questions and point out the difficulties; suggest solutions.
  • Finally, THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities.
    • Many of the world's greatest discoveries have been made by accident.
Let's face, we're all mostly improvising our way through life anyway; why not look to the practice and rules of that art form to learn how to do what we're doing because we really don't know what we're doing?

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