BY: MARIE GUO
As a non-native English speaker, when I first heard the word “improvise,” I did not even know what it meant. Growing up with everything being prepared neatly: school, travel, speech, or random meetings, I have never tried to do anything without planning ahead. Even when I wanted to order a cheeseburger, I would practice my words over and over as I was lining up. So, when I joined the Making-Box as a co-op student and looked up “improvise” in my dictionary, I flinched.
I was scared. Scared of acting without any preparation, scared of feeling awkward when I did wrong. Improv was like a foggy enchanted forest, and I was just a lost little kid, curious but afraid of what’s inside. With the desire of proving myself brave and competent at my first job, I was on a one-way street and had no choice but to overcome the fear, so I entered into the improv forest and discovered.
All of a sudden, the little kid was immersed in it. It has been two weeks since I joined The Making-Box. After shadowing several improv training sessions, and reading books about improv, I learned a lot. Improv is definitely not just being funny, it is about building yourself up.
Accept and Respect
After getting to know improv, the phrase I see most often is “Yes, and.” It means accepting people’s ideas and adding your thoughts (which not necessarily means agree to them). Accepting someone’s idea is telling a person that they are respected. Wherever you are, whatever you do, you are always socializing and meeting new people. So, keeping “Yes, and” in mind will help you build strong interpersonal skills and make more friends.
Say Yes to Being Wrong
Making a mistake is probably the most common thing in the world. Everyone makes mistakes, whether it’s a wrong number entered in a huge project, or a key left at home, they are usually no big deal. Instead of complaining or blaming anyone, the best thing to do is to laugh at it, learn from it, and throw it away. Don’t be afraid of being wrong, you should cherish this moment because now you have learned new things.
Say No to Embarrassment
I used to care about others’ opinions so much that I was nervous to actually show myself in front of people. When I made an awful speech, I would keep thinking about it and feel awkward the whole day. Feeling awkward is common, I am sure everyone feels the same. But, it is just a waste of your time and effort. People are mostly worried about themselves, so they don’t have time to care about you. Yes, nobody cares about you. If you do something hilarious and make you feel awkward, forget about it as soon as you get off the stage, because your audience will do the same thing. They will just be shocked for a second and forget about it right away.
After learning more, Improv is now like an enchanted forest in the daytime, with sunshine clearing off the thick fog. I am still that lost kid, but this time, I am busy continuing to explore this amazing place, being excited to find more inspirations and knowledge.