Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Wisdom of Improv

The job of a lawyer is to craft the best story possible, in a way that persuades and connects with the listener.

A person trained in improv learns the value of good solid story telling. Not 'spinning a tale' that turns the facts on their ear, but creates the response of "Hmm, I never thought about it that way!"

An improv teacher I had many years ago said that one's intellectual life was a journey from "Huh?" through "Hmmm..." to "Aha!".

The first step is the question. 'What is that?'. 'What the heck did that mean?' 'I have no idea what you're talking about.' This response can be summed up in the "Huh?" we all feel when we simply don't understand what is going on. And there is nothing wrong with that state of mind.

The next step, after you have had the opportunity to take some of the story telling in, and sort out the facts, is the "Hmmm...". Kind of digesting the facts, details, emotions, contradictions, etc. Turning over and over in your head, chomping down each bit of information and rolling around in your head patterns, and things that begin to make sense.

Then the snap happens.

It can happen while you're brushing your teeth or in the bathroom or while driving or in a almost sleep state. The "Aha!". You now know something that you did not know before, your life will never be the same. The Aha! is the moment of insight, a brief glimpse in to the genius that had been sleeping moments before. In the jungle of your mind, the lion has awakened. Saying Yes to that "Aha!" insight. But more about that in future blog posts. It is the wisdom in improv of the "Yes, and..." that gives the improviser great insights and more and more "Aha!" moments.

In her book, "Improv Wisdom", author Patricia Ryan Madson'
The world of yes may be the single most powerful secret of improvising. It allows players who have no history with one 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 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.

1 comment:

Patricia Ryan Madson said...

Thank you for mentioning my book, Improv Wisdom. It means a lot to me that you have found value in this book and can apply the lessons to the world of the LAW. This makes my day! Keep on saying YES-AND. Congratulations on your inspiring blog.
Patricia Ryan Madson