"IF EVERYONE TOOK AN IMPROV CLASS, THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE."
--Martin de Maat
To me, these are not just words. They have become my beliefs. Not just on stage, or in a classroom, or in my sales job, but in my life. If we all were taught improv at an early age and continually applied its principles to the way we learn and communicate, and reinforced them in our everyday tasks and corporate worlds, we would be kinder to one another. Imagine a world where we would respect each others races, religions, cultures, ages, genders, sexual orientations and political affiliations. Where we view "DIFFERENT" as something good. Something we can learn from.
Today we bully, judge and gossip because we are afraid of "DIFFERENT." It's much safer to tear someone down because they are different from us or the way we were raised. Stop being afraid. Do not let fear define your character or dictate your life. Take an improv class. It is not at all what you think. Improv is not about being funny or clever. It is about being real. It is about being honest. It is about being human and all the crazy experiences that go along with it. It's about being that weird, wonderful, embarrassing you. Most importantly, improv is about love. Put yourself out there. Find something to love about each individual and they will do the same for you. If you want someone to embrace all your imperfections, you need to embrace theirs. Improv is about failure. Failure is a great teacher. We don't learn how to get better without failing. But when you do fail, fail with grace. Improv is about being uncomfortable. The goal is to get you more comfortable with being uncomfortable. To risk and push and challenge and change yourself for the better. Improv is about surrendering the ego, being selfless and vulnerable. It's about taking what is given and making the best out of it.
Even after 20 years of improvising, teaching, directing and corporate training, occasionally doubt creeps in and I still find myself afraid. I remind myself "What's the worst that can happen? I don't get the part? I don't get the promotion? I don't get the job? I Fail?"........then my improv beliefs kick in. And my answer is always the same. "SO WHAT!" There is power in the "SO WHAT!" At least I was brave enough to step out there and try. And failure doesn't stop me from trying a hundred more times until I get it right. I don't judge failure. I'm not embarrassed by failure. It has no power over me. This is how improv has rewired my brain. So my wish is that everyone take an improv class. It's not too late to change yourself, and in the process, you might just change the world.