Words of recommendation on the cover of Keith Johnstone’s Impro, from a Daily Telegraph journalist, catching my eye this morning.
Whatever you value and produce, I’m guessing it’ll be better for more spontaneity and originality.
The improvising actor or comedian practices more. It doesn’t sound right, does it?
It’s the hours of hard work and practice in the background which makes all the difference when it comes to improvisation on stage.
It got me thinking about three practices or exercises which can lead to greater spontaneity and originality in life. They may seem strange places to begin, but bear with me.
The first is Humility: we know who we are, what we can do, where we can make a difference; we are increasing in awareness as we develop skills and grow passions – impro exercises include, finding out more about our passions and talents from all the resources we can lay our hands on, including talking to and learning from others who exhibit similar and complementary talents, and looking to play with these things daily.
When you do, you are opening up choice because you are connecting with your world, with others and with your future Self.
Then there’s Gratitude: to be aware of all the resources you have in your life, from the basics – shelter, food, modest finances – to the more sophisticated: education, circle of relationships, curiosity in particular things which set your pulse racing.
When you do, you are opening up choice because you know you can begin with because you have so much.
Thirdly, there’s Faithfulness: fulfilling the simple basics which are necessary for the things you value – like turning up to read what you need to page by page, staying in touch with friends and those influential in your life, and learning more about your field of interest – I can never become a driving instructor if I never learn to drive.
When you do, you are opening up choice because you are honouring the small, repeated steps which take you further.
The reason these three practices of choice are so effective is because they exist in a world of choices – a creative response to a world more open to us than we imagine.
One of the on-workings of exercising choice in this way is to increase choice around others and within others. It’s a great gift to make. It has no expectation than to say to another, Go, live your life as you know you must.
And the world needs more people who MUST.
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