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The Gift of Knowing What to Say

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When I was in elementary school, I rebelled by acting out in class.  I was class clown in the classical sense.  Being silly gave me attention and rewarded me in way that I needed at the time.  It lead me to think and believe that I show be a stand up comedian as an adult.

Several high school aptitude classes later and a degree in Communication, I fell into the lap of Marketing and later Sales, because that’s what people do.

It was only after one particularly unfulfilled day at work, that I stayed up late surfing the mobile web, looking for ‘something’.  That ‘something’ ended up being a trip down memory lane, in Mrs. Horiuchi’s 7th grade history class.  I signed up for Improv Comedy Classes, of which I had no previous experience doing.

It has been an incredible 2+ year journey and counting.  I feel like I’m beginning to itch the scratch of my 12 year old self and building a new skill set that I never knew I needed.

Some of the key lessons I’ve picked up:

Improv teaches presence.  If you aren’t locked-in on your world around you, then you are officially lost on stage.  Your teammates are counting on you to be real without notice.  That means you can’t think about your mortgage, or sports, or your career while in a scene.

Improv teaches acceptance.  Everyone on earth has a reality of the world/experiences/expression in their mind.  Most times it’s different than your own.  If you can’t accept another persons reality, and add value to it, you simply can’t grow a meaningful relationship with them.  It’s amazing how valuable this is in everyday conversations.

Improv teaches teamwork.   For new improvisers, ‘funny people’ struggle to be good teammates and non-naturally funny people struggle to take chances.  A good team has a balance of personality and activity, but if you follow the basic rules of Improv–the playing field is completely level for both naturally funny-unfunny people.  The best improvisers learn to be assistants to their team.   They make others look better, and in turn make sets look better.  Selfish improvisers struggle.

Improv is a confidence builder.  Very few people on the face of the earth experience performance in front of a paying audience.  It’s such a unique motivator.  It keeps you from getting complacent.  And then, walking off of a stage where people don’t hate you (at least) after paying their hard earned $5 is grounds for being able to conquer just about anything else.

I recommend Improv, at least classes, to just about every person that casually inquires about it.  It’s worth a look, even if you don’t do anything beyond 4 weeks in a classroom.

Here’s a link to the place that I’ve taken improv lessons at.

Improv Lessons

 

 


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