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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Improv can help just about anyone in life

Living is massively difficult. Even when everything in your life goes the way you want, it’s still tremendously hard. There are unnecessary obstacles and hurdles that you never see coming, which add to a lot of stress and anxiety that only gets worse over time.

I love this game called life and will play it as long as I’m allowed, but things can get hectic no matter what stage in life you’re in.

I was desperate to do something creative two years ago and stumbled into improv. It was the best thing I fell into and realized that improv isn’t just for actors, it’s for anybody that wants to improv(e) their social skills, presentation skills and for anyone that simply wants to succeed at life. Yes, I know that last part sounded cheesy, but it’s 100 percent true.

Improv does something that we should all be doing a lot more of: saying “YES.” Too often we hear “no” when asking someone out or from a potential employer, and too many no’s can weigh us down. There’s a lot of negativity in hearing no all the time. However, saying yes to a situation opens the door to possibilities rather than just cutting the legs off to whatever you’re trying to accomplish.

“Improv provides a life philosophy through the idea of ‘yes and,’ and I believe that these philosophies can be used in all aspects of life,” said Justin Lukasewicz, executive director and instructor at the Tucson Improv Movement.

Yes and-ing is the first rule one learns when doing improv and it’s essentially taking whatever somebody says, agreeing to it and building on it; rather than just tearing it down or changing it. It’s a simple rule, but extremely effective!

Improv also helps one to learn how to “process information at a quicker speed and then utilize that information to make the best decisions in the moment,” Lukasewicz said. This helps with teaching, or in business, such with doing a presentation with potential clients, as well as an array of life situations.

This all adds up to the fact that improv isn’t just for actors or those looking to make it into the crazy world of Hollywood. It’s a different mindset that changes the way you enter a situation, how you prepare yourself, how you listen to people and everything that can come from it.

“The ideas of accepting what is happening, bringing a positive attitude, adding to what the person you are speaking with is saying and utilizing the flow of energy in a positive way, are all important life skills that are taught through improv training,” Lukasewicz said.

An enormous thing that improv teaches you is how to respond when you make a mistake. Rather than beating yourself up and feeling anxious about it, you learn how to work with it, justify it and make it a part of the situation, rather than just feeling foolish and nervous.

In a nut shell, improv gives you tools to work better in group settings, it builds confidence, it helps you look at a situation differently and work around mistakes, and it gives you the support system that we all wish we had, so we don’t get so nervous or anxious in particular situations.

I’ve been performing for quite some time now and I’ve seen many people simply take a class to help with their job or their social life. Lots have stayed and performed because it’s healthy.

Art reflects life and life reflects art. Anyone that ventures into an improv class will find how it gives them confidence on levels they’ve only dreamed of and help them feel less anxious when that can sometimes be a default setting our body has.

Follow Daniel Geffre on Twitter.

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