The Art of the ‘Yes, And’

No, please, I insist, you first!

Second City Improv classes teach me a lot about life.

Like it’s okay to just ‘be’ if you don’t know what you’re going to say. (‘Awkard’ pauses are opportunities to breathe, assess, and play with the moment)

And if you say you’re going to do something, you better follow through or the audience will remember you for the inconsitency in your character. (Ever disappointed someone you love this way?)

My favourite is this: the way to progress a scene is to “Yes, And” instead of “No”.

See, the art of “Yes, And”-ing creates a dynamic where you encourage what is happening and create offers for your scene partners.

It would be like this:

Rhonda: I’m so happy we’re flying to the moon today

Toby: We’re not flying to the moon! You’re insane

Rhonda: Uhhh….*curses partner for giving her nothing to work with*

Versus

Rhonda: I’m so happy we’re flying to the moon today

Toby: Thank God, it’s about time I took you home.

Rhonda: I’m sure your mother will be happy to see me.

And in life, I can think of this principle adding to my growth as an individual. To accept something and make your offer on what happens next is our greatest access to having personal freedom. It also just feels smoother not to resist, helping us along that flow of life and bettering those around you along the way. We have this unfortunate tendancy to fall back on cynisism, fear, and a lack of a sense of worth, so too often shy away from the offers in front of us, whether it’s improving a relationship, taking on a new project, or letting go of a stressful trigger.

So, what if you took a shot at “yes, and”-ing your life instead? …might lead to some funny outcomes.

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