I teach improv and my 15 year old daughter cannot make eye contact. For a Mom who considers eye contact one of the most critical steps to connecting with others, this scares me. You know what else scares me? She is petrified to express herself in school. She tells me that the very thought of raising her hand in class to ask a question sends her to a near panic attack.
I’m the first person to proudly proclaim that improv skills are good for everyone, doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. Improvisation provides a life changing set of skills. So, that’s my disclaimer. The following are just three capacities that are on my hot list right now. They’ll be more to come, you can count on it.
We learn very early in life that the strongest survive. We know that building a house of straw or sticks isn’t the smartest plan. The solid choice is brick, carefully placed one by one and bound together by a strong adhesive. It might take longer and the work is tedious, but the end result will stand strong and weather the storms (or a hungry wolf).
When learning how to improvise for stage, you learn quickly that you MUST be kind in order to succeed. If you are not nice to your partners, then your scenes will fall apart. It's like the structure of improv was built to hold up only when and if people are being nice to one another. It is no surprise that some of the very basic building blocks of improvisation are: listening, agreement, putting others before yourself, empathy, trust and getting each other's back. Imagine running that checklist through your mind at work or in a social setting.
It’s that time again. We all start to contemplate the year behind us and the year to come. For my last blog of 2014, I wanted to influence you as best I can to do something that I know will change your life, something I should have done 15 years ago.