My brother used to be in an improv group, participating in a series of unscripted games for the entertainment of an audience. He was pretty good. The ones who weren’t seem to have the same thing in common. It wasn’t a lack of talent or that they were missing a funny bone. It was their refusal to adhere to the “yes, and…” rule.
It’s the difference between success and failure in an improv skit.
If a fellow performer suggests that your shoes are made of marshmallows, and you say, “No they aren’t. What are you talking about? These are normal shoes,” the skit dies a hard, painful, and unfunny death.
Instead, you need to accept the premise, and add to it. “YES, my shoes are made of marshmallows, AND they enable me to jump over cars!”
What is vital to the success of an improv skit is also the key to a successful business or a happier, more fulfilling life.
It’s possible to become more resilient while positively responding to challenges with grace and effectiveness, and we don’t have to possess some special talent. Instead of denying the things that happen in our life – especially the unwelcome, uncomfortable, unpleasant things – all we have to do is adopt the “yes, and…” approach.
Yes, my basement sprung a leak and we have to rip out the carpet and drywall to fix it. And now I have the chance to redecorate this space in a way that makes more sense for our family and will become our favorite room in the whole house.
Yes, I just went through a terrible divorce. And now true healing can finally begin and the door is opened for Mr. Right to come walking through.
Yes, the results from our customer feedback survey were kind of painful. And based on the feedback, we now have some action steps we can implement that will give them a more pleasant experience with us going forward, and may even increase our referrals.
Yes, I just got into a fender bender and my car will be in the shop for a while. And now I’m going to rent a convertible for the week and have adventures!
This is the entire premise of my new book, “A Chance of Awesome,” and it really is proof that changing the way you see can change everything.
If you adopt the “yes, and…” approach to life, life just gets better.
I know for sure that life will give you a chance to practice someday soon.
Are you game?