Improv Wisdom shows how to apply the maxims of improvisational theater to real-life challenges—whether it’s dealing with a demanding boss, a tired child, or one of life’s never-ending surprises
Say yes to everything
This is going to sound crazy. Say yes to everything. Accept all offers. Go along with the plan. Support someone else’s dream. Say ‘yes’, ‘right’, ‘sure’, ‘I will’, ‘okay’, ‘of course’, ‘YES!’
Cultivate all the ways to you can imagine to express affirmation. When the answer to all questions is yes, you enter a new world, a world of action, possibility, and adventure.
The world of yes may be the single most powerful secret of improvising. It allows players who have no history with another to create a scene effortlessly, telepathically. Safety lies in knowing your partner will go along with whatever idea you present. Life is too short to argue over which movie to see. Seize the first idea and go with it.
Don’t confuse this with with being a ‘yes-man’, implying mindless pandering. Saying yes is an act of courage and optimism; it allows you to share control. It is a way to make your partner happy. Yes expands your world.
The spirit of improvising is embodied in the notion of ‘yes and’. Agreement begins the process; what comes next is to add something or develop the offer in a positive direction. Avoiding this next step is a form of blocking.
[bluebox]Try this: Support someone else’s dreams. Pick a person (your spouse, child, boss), and for a week agree with all of her ideas. Find something right about everything he says or does. Look for every opportunity to offer support. Consider her convenience and time preferences ahead of your own. Give him the spotlight. Notice the results.[/bluebox]
Exercising the yes muscle builds optimism
With the rule of yes, we call upon our capacity to envision, to create new and positive images. This yes invites us to find out what is right about the situation, what is good about the offer, what is worthy in the proposal.
Exercising the yes muscle builds optimism. However, we sensibly understand that the practice of affirmation is not a guarantee of outcomes. Saying yes to life will not banish problems or promise eternal success. A positive perspective is a constructive one, however, it is easier on those around us.
[bluebox]Try this: For one day say yes to everything. Set your own preferences aside. Notice the results. See how often it may not be convenient or easy to do this.
Obviously, use common sense in executing this rule. If you are a diabetic and are offered a big piece of pie, you’ll need to find a way to protect your health. Perhaps you can say boldly, ‘Yes, I’d love to have this pie to take home to my son who adores cherries.'[/bluebox]