Monthly Archives: July 2016

Step Outside Your Box

Power2ImprovI’m checking off another Bucket List item! This summer, I’m learning how to do improv theater! Trust me, I don’t aim to be at the level of Wayne Brady and his colleagues, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Those men are pure genius, but local level improv is something I’ve always wanted to do.

I found an improv theater in town that offers classes, but they were a bit too expensive for my taste. I put that Bucket List item on the back burner for a far off future date. Then by sheer luck, this spring I found a free class! Thumbs up! That’s more like it!

It’s an 8-week class meeting once a week, and at the end of the sessions we will perform a public show! By no means are we practicing routines as hard as what they do on the TV show, but the exercises and games are really forcing us to think outside the box. During some classes I’ve almost felt like my brain was turning inside out, which may have been the sensation of new neural synapses being built. Of course there are the times where a fellow student will do something that makes you laugh so hard that you have an uncontrollable giggle fit that brings tears to your eyes.

Performing in class is one thing, it’s the thought of the public showcase that does give me a little trepidation. I am very familiar with being on-stage and being a public speaker having been in Toastmasters International for so many years, and I have no fear of that, but that’s when I knew what I was going to say. Improv is totally spontaneous. I want a life-changing experience? Wait until that showcase! That will really push me outside my “box.” Of course when the curtain rises, I won’t have time to think about being nervous, I’ll just have to, “Do or do not,” as Yoda would say.

How often do you challenge yourself? How often do you challenge your brain or body to do something it’s never done before? How good at you at improvising when the unexpected happens?

Most of us prefer it when life goes by smoothly without major challenges, such as flat tires, traffic tickets or an unexpected injury. However, we can’t expect life to always be smooth. Even a conversation can have its twists. Imagine your significant other popping the Big Question, or your spouse asking for a divorce, or announcing: “We’re pregnant!” What happens when your boss or a client puts you on the spot?

It’s time to develop some improv style thinking!

The beauty of improv theater is that there is never a wrong answer. As long as you are confident and can sell your answer, you are correct.

That is not going to happen in real life – usually there is a right or wrong answer. How you react could make all the difference. This is why you need to develop your thinking skills.

There are some students in my class that I was puzzled upon meeting. They were so quiet and shy! What were they doing in an improv class? Obviously they desired to push themselves and step outside their comfort zones, and so should you.

Yes, I suggest you to Google if you have any improv classes in your local area, but if there are not, look for some venue where you can stretch your brain and think outside the box. For example, join a Toastmasters club!

I will miss my improv class so much, I may do the class over again! Hmm, maybe I should wait until after the showcase!

What’s on your Bucket List? Be brave, enlarge your comfort zone and step outside your box!

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