Improvisation and Life. Why you should improvise rather than plan.

improvisationWhen I was young and wild – or at least young, I had a joke with my friend, which we often repeated when we were out adventuring in “the night life.”

-Let’s put plan A in to use
-What if it does not work?
-Let’s try plan B then.
-What is that?
-There is no such thing – WE’LL IMPROVISE!

It felt funny at that time. Perhaps the late nights or young minds made it fun. We found ourselves in trouble several times and we needed to improvise.


A few weeks ago I participated in improvisation training. The training was based on Keith Johnstone’s improvisation techniques that are used all over the world in different theatres. Keith Johnstone is considered to be the father of improvisation theatre.

I participated in the training for two reasons, I wanted to improve my presentation skills and I wanted to challenge myself.

Improvisation theatre without any previous experience was a scary challenge for me.

Did I learn something that will help my leadership, productivity or life?
Yes, I did.

These are my own insights and learnings:

1. Failure is a gift. Failure creates interesting situations and all the fun in the improvisation.

2. Positivity is a strong force. Negativity kills all ideas. In improvisation, the story can continue if you don’t kill the story with no answers or even worse, if you kill your character or your partner in the beginning, the story will die with them.

3. Plans won’t work. Define a goal and start improvising to get it done. When you take the first steps towards your goal, everything becomes clear. In improvisation everything changes all the time, you don’t know what is ahead of you, so planning is impossible. That’s life. You can plan in life as well, but even the best plans will change. You cannot predict things, you can only guess.

4. Shame is completely unnecessary. Many things are left undone, if you feel shame.

5. You need someone to support you. The better the relationships and trust you have the better results you will get. The same is true for improvisation, the friends in stage are there to help and support you.

6. Silence is often more interesting than noise. In other words, in business or work, you don’t always need to make a lot of noise. Try silence.

7. Sometimes, the best ideas come out of the blue. They do.

8. Listening is an important skill that only a few people can do. When you improvise you really need to listen to others. Others are your fuel.

9. Failure does not matter. What matters is what you do after the failure.

10. Failure is an asset. When someone fails at improvisation, or if you fail, you can use the failure as your benefit. Take the failure and build on top of it.

After the training I felt exhausted, happy, but somehow I had gained extra strengths. When I tweeted about it, @bojan from AlphaEfficiency replied : “Sounds like a feeling of achievement”.


Photo credit Flickr skygirlyne 

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