Fear, Failure, and Teamwork: 3 Things I Learned From Improv

I’ve started taking a 10 week improv 101 class.  I wanted to try something new and improv intrigues me.  I think it will help me in some ways with my teaching (And it totally has so far! Got lots of ideas brewing).

Trying new things is good for the brain.  Since we as adults think many of the same thoughts over and over again trying something new is a way to shake things up and see the world in a different light.

Here are some things I’m learning from my new class. 

Fear of failure limits creativity. In some improv games I notice myself afraid to join in, because I might do it wrong or look stupid.  How often in life do you hold back because you want to get it right?  This is a real toxic way of living and stunts creative growth.  While we do need to assess real risk, more often than not we'll play small before we take a risk.  But, what we're missing, is that we can really gain A LOT from seeing risk-taking clearly.

It’s not about being funny, improv is about connecting to the moment.  Often we humans focus on the outcome which in improv shows up as wanting to be funny and wanting the scene to be good.  In life it shows up on getting attached to success, relationships, or material items. If we focus on connecting whole-heartedly to the moment, that really changes the game.  Then the emphasis is more on how we show up and letting things unfold naturally rather than the outcome.

It’s all about the group.  Do you prefer group activities or to fly solo?  Much of what we’re learning in this class is to work together as a group.  For many of us strong-willed, independent folks, this is good practice for us (I fall into this camp).  It’s not about being a star, or looking good, it’s about creating something together that has never happened before. We can practice this in life as well by paying attention to the group as a whole, and how we can contribute to the group, whether it's a family, work team, or group of friends.

That's my latest update on my new improv class—there will probably more stories to come :-)  

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PS If you’re in the Twin Cities we’ll have a showcase coming up in November if you want to come!