5 Connections Between Improv and a Positive Outlook
There are a lot of ways that improv helps us think differently. Even though improv is primarily used to allow creative people to collaborate more effectively, there are a lot of traits that improvisers develop that can also help all of us have a better, more optimistic outlook on life. Here are 5 of the best ones:
1) Be in the Now – One thing that positive-minded people do well is that they are good at living in the present, and they let the past remain in the past. This is also one of the first skills that improvisers have to develop. Pay attention to what is being said and done in this moment. The past might inform some decisions, and the thoughts of the future might guide you, but the present is the only time you can actually change something.
2) Embrace Change – Improvisers live by the mantra “Yes, And…” That means that when someone contributes something unexpected to a scene or a game, their reaction is to embrace that choice and build on it, not fight against it. A positive mindset approaches change in the same way, being energized by the new possibilities, rather than worrying about changing something that has already happened.
3) Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Improvisers learn early on that the only way to get beyond what you’ve already done is to risk failure. In order to fly, we have to be willing to fall on our faces. And people with a positive mindset tend to see the world the same way. Stepping into fear, taking a competent risk, allows us to grow as individuals, and that growth, in turn, allows us to be happier in life.
4) Let Your Voice Be Heard – In general, positive people understand the need to share their insights. Keeping everything bottled up inside is not healthy for anyone. In improv, we have to learn to balance everyone’s contributions. We learn to collaborate, so that everyone is not only encouraged to contribute, they are expected to. The people around you won’t read your mind, so you have to learn to communicate what you’re thinking. If you hold everything inside, no one else can benefit from your inspiration.
5) Be Grateful – Gratitude is a great way to cultivate a positive outlook, because it refocuses our minds from the bad to the good, and it is one of the core values of CSz Worldwide (the others being Inspiration, Collaboration, and Fun). When improvisers get a chance to perform, we are grateful for that opportunity, just as we are grateful for the camaraderie of our fellow improvisers, and grateful for the audience members and the suggestions they contribute. We strive not to take any of it for granted.