Life Is One Big Improv

Here’s a blog I wrote back in 2009. Thought I’d share again on this new site.

After class last night, I started thinking about improv and how it relates to life. 

In improv, there are no lines to memorize, no actions to run through, no stage directions to follow. When you get up to do a scene, you don’t know what’s going to happen, where it’s going to lead, or who’s going to do what. 

Sometimes, all you know is the situation – if you’re lucky. 

Sometimes you just get a sentence. Or a word. 

Your creativity, your emotions, your actions determine how that scene is going to play out. You are the deciding factor. 

There are no rehearsals. There are no retakes. You’ve got one shot. And that’s it.

Kind of scary, uh? 

But isn’t that life. No rehearsals, no directions, no plot. 

Life is one big improv. Or a bunch of little ones going on at the same time. 

Think about it. 

Sure you can plan for things. You can prepare for what you’re going to say or do. But the truth of the matter is, you don’t know what’s going to happen next. You don’t know what that other person is going to say, act or feel. 

You don’t know. 

But the good news is, just like improv, you are the one who controls the scene. 

Now grant it, some people are better at improv than others. But everyone can be good. Anyone can make a scene fun and exciting to watch, as long as they follow the “rules.”

So I started thinking, if life and improv are so similar and if we can make improv great by following at least a few of the rules, then maybe, just maybe if we applied those same guidelines to our everyday situations, we could have a great life. 

It’s worth a shot. Right?

So here they are:
1. Have a want
2. Define your relationship
3. Don’t negate what you have been told to be true
4. “Yes, and…”
5. Listen
6. Resolve arguments quickly
7. Don’t go back
8. Don’t hold back
9. Trust your instincts
10. Have fun

These are just the 10 that I thought of. If you have any more, let me know and I’ll add them.

One thought on “Life Is One Big Improv

  1. snipes86

    Hey, Ive only started to using WordPress in attempt to find some motivation and ideas on stuff that I can possibly write about. I have just encountered your blog posts, and I must say that I do find them fascinating.

    I’m a Marketing graduate who’s experiencing some difficulties in breaking through the marketing industry due to lack of experience. However, your blogs on the other hand are interesting and helpful because they give people like myself a clear insight of the industry from a professional marketer perspective. Thank you.

    It never actually crossed my mind that life is one big Improvisation, but you’re absolutely right, it is! The similarity is that we can’t predict our future (or whats going to happen next), although our present influences and actions can help determine it. I think that you’re top ten improv rules are spot on! :) Improvisation was one of my favoruite games back when I was a Performing Arts student. Great Blog :)


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