I've spent a bunch of time doing improv in NYC, and teaching digital acceleration classes at Hyper Island and for a while I assumed these things were completely different.
When I go to improv rehearsal I put my phone away because it's an artform based on people making up stories in the moment using only their words and bodies. if a scene has a phone in it, we mime it and yes there is a right and wrong way to hold an invisible smartphone.
Turns out that a digital mindset and an improv mindset are exactly the same. Surprise, surprise. When I say "mindset" I mean a set of behaviors and attitudes that make someone to "understand the power of technology to democratize, scale and speed up every form of interaction and action" and make someone to be a good improviser.
(Note: I said a good improviser because anyone can do bad improv, but trust me you don't want to inflict that pain on innocent people.)
Here is the secret sauce of a digital and an improv mindset:
5 Key Ingredients:
1. Be Agile
2. Be Curious
3. Believe That You Can Learn Something New (aka Growth Mindset)
4. Be Comfortable in the Uncomfortable
5. Be Open to Different Perspectives
Mix those up in a big bowl in your brain and you will be extremely employable and a fabulous entertainer at company retreats!
But seriously think about those 5 characteristics. They're pretty much the stuff that awesome, smart, successful, and fun people are made of. Do you have these qualities? Or do you just say you do? How can you get them? Do they sell them at the dollar store or Amazon?
(Soon enough Amazon probably will...)
Like everything hard and worth doing this mindset takes dedication, focus, and daily practice. Improv has helped me work on this and I've watched myself grow as a facilitator, as a program director, as an entrepreneur and a collaborator.
Here's my two cents:
- Take an improv class if you work in digital.
- Take an improv class if you hate everything digital.
- Take an improv class if you want to be more open-minded at work, or with your partner, or with your mom.
- Take an improv to become an overall awesome human being.
- Take an improv class if it scares the shit out of you because if it does then that is exactly what you need.
Follow the fear...find the fun.