One Word Suggestion: Balance.
Welcome to One Word Suggestion.
Most people think improv is just for comedy or jazz music. But, really, it’s a tool for life. For each article in this series I use a single word, suggested by you, as a leaping off point to explore how having an improvisational mindset will help you perform at a higher level, both personally and professionally, whether you have a career on or off the stage.
I probably shouldn’t be saying this because we’re still building the improv community here in Australia, but there is more to life than improv.
On his blog “Improv Nerd,” Jimmy Carrane says “doing things outside of improv only makes you a better improviser.”
And I agree. Get out there and try stand up, storytelling, clowning, rock climbing, finger painting… anything.
The point is, if you’re all improv, all the time, there’s a chance your life could be a bit out of balance.
The fact that Jimmy has a successful blog called Improv Nerd should tell you something about how fanatical people can get about it. Especially in America, and in particular, Chicago – the birthplace of long-form improv.
Chicago has tons of theatres and there are more shows than you can possibly see every night of the week. And there’s an exponentially expanding list of places to play, and watch friends play.
In fact, I’m pretty sure “Hey you coming to my improv show?” has replaced “Hey, yo!” as the local greeting.
If you’re not careful, improv can overtake your life and consume you. Ask any Chicagoan how many friends they’ve “lost” to improv.
It’s not all bad. After all, I wouldn’t be running an improv comedy school or improv based corporate training business if I didn’t believe in the power of improv to positively transform and improve people’s lives.
The point is, doing other things besides improv will give you a rich library of perspectives and experiences that you can draw from on stage and in life.
And by joining or studying other cultures, subcultures, or just people watching, you will fill the well with things you can draw upon to make your improvised characters richer and more interesting to watch.
In Australia, the long-form improv scene is just beginning to bloom. We don’t yet enjoy the same level of, or exposure to, improv as they do in cities like Chicago, New York, or LA, but I’m working on it.
The school continues to enjoy organic growth and our amazing community of students and teachers continues to pursue their passion in a way that never ceases to inspire me.
Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll have shows every night of the week, and “Hey you coming to my improv show?” will replace “G’day mate” as the local greeting.
Until then, in the unlikely event you’re suffering from improv burnout, remember that it’s OK to take breaks and keep the balance.
Just come back, because we’ll miss you.
If you want to suggest a word for next week, or add your perspective, drop me a note in the comments or in a review. I’m making one of these every week, for a year, so definitely subscribe, like, share, and all that jazz.
Or better yet, listen to the podcast.
And in the meantime, if you’re interested in improv for personal growth, professional achievement, or just for fun, my suggestion is to get yourself into an improv class or book a corporate training workshop for your team.
You can learn all about PowerProv’s programs at powerprov.com.au
About One Word Suggestion
The One Word Suggestion series is your personal toolbox full of ways to help you use the power of improvisation to craft a more mindful and meaningful existence. Available as articles, a podcast, and soon, a book filled with powerful exercises for teams.
The One Word Suggestion Podcast with Eran Thomson
In each 3-minute episode, Eran uses a single word, suggested by listeners, as a leaping off point to explore how developing an improvisational mindset will help you perform at a higher level personally and professionally.
Whether you aspire to be better on stage or on the job, this quick hit of improv inspiration is sure to bring you some insights, perspective, and joy.
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Learn about the best improv training for teams at PowerProv.