Circumventing the Ego - The Improv Shortcut to Inner Brilliance
Practicing improvisation allows us to bypass the ego, allowing us to access our inner wisdom and creativity. The #1 rule of improvisation is that we always say, “Yes, and,” actively listening to, accepting and adding on to our partner’s idea. A scene using this framework may look something like this:
Ann: Hey Steve, that is an interesting red t-shirt you’re wearing today.
Steve: Yes, this is an interesting red t-shirt and I bought one for you as well!
Ann: Yes, you bought one for me and we will look very well coordinated as we present our strategic plan for the Board this afternoon.
In reference to the ego, the “Yes, and” framework:
- Forces us to suspend judgement of our partner. Due to the rule of saying “Yes, and,” we have no choice but to put our energy into supporting our partner’s idea, regardless of what we may think of it, going against our natural tendency to immediately say, “No” to unconventional or outside the box ideas.
- Because of the pace, encourages us to go with the first thought that comes to our mind, instead of allowing the ego to come in and tell us that our idea is not good enough.
- Allows us to become comfortable sharing outside of the box ideas because, within the confines of “Yes, and,” we know that our partner is required to support us as we support them.
- Renders powerless, the part of our ego that wants to be in control and have everything figured out. Scenes are build line by line. Not knowing what our partner is going to contribute until it comes out of their mouth, enables us to be in the moment, instead of thinking about and planning what we are going to say next while they are talking.
- Creates an even playing field. No one can be “in charge” in an improv scene, as we’re building it together. No one person is better than, or more important than another.
When we are able to circumvent the ego, our best ideas emerge and we are much better equipped to be a fantastic teammate.