Living your best life requires flexibility. A willingness to adapt to the unexpected. The more rigid you are, the less resilient you will be. One of the best ways I learned to be adaptable was through a very unlikely source.
When I was in high school I did improvisational comedy on the speech team. Me and 3 of my buddies were a part of this improv group. How it works is you randomly draw 3 scenarios out of a hat and you have 2 minutes to pick one of them, figure out characters, and the closing word that lets the entire group know to stop. Your skit can not go over 5 minutes. The goal is to entertain the judges.
Possible scenario prompts might be: Chaperoning a school trip to an amusement park, school mascot on criminal trial, the first meeting of an unlikely fan club, or grand opening of a restaurant gone wrong.
As you can imagine everything is spontaneous in improv. The very first thing we learned about is the rule of “Yes and__” Basically, regardless of what the scenario is or what comes out of someone’s mouth you must not only accept it “yes” but also respond by adding more to it “and__”. This helps progress the flow of the scene and ideas. Saying “no” was forbidden as it stops momentum and creativity.
For example, someone might say “Chris, wow you have wonderful eyes.”
A poor response would be: “Thank you!” Or “No, I do not”
A better response would be: “Thank you, after I was attacked by this wild herd of cats I thought my eyes would never look the same.”
It’s a pretty basic concept and it was fun to force yourself into some creative rebuttal. You never knew how the skit would unfold which made it exciting.
Now, imagine adopting and applying the rule of “yes and__” to your life when the unexpected happens… Life is unscripted as much as we may try to plan for everything. We must be willing to embrace fate whether we want to or not because we simply can’t undo the past. Life will move forward with or without you.
You need to improvise, get creative, and devise a new way. The most resilient people are also the best at improvising life’s curveballs. They just keep going. Like the boxer in the ring taking hit after hit. 🥊 You get knocked down 👉 Yes and__ 🥊 You get hit another time 👉 Yes and__!
Marcus Aurelius sums this up in Meditations with this quote: