I did not start writing this column when I should have because something went ‘pop’ inside my foot.
While chasing after my three-year-old (who was running towards the road), I swerved around a bike, landed on uneven ground, and ended up spraining my mid-foot.
The excruciating pain and richly colored bruises seemed like legitimate excuses to say ‘no’ to my looming deadline.
It’s a decision that Dave Morris would never make. The professional improviser always says ‘yes.’
Morris earned international attention for his TEDxVictoria talk, The Way of Improvisation. More than 56,000 people have watched video of him online; counting down the 10 ways that improv can improve your life. He begins the lecture advising adults to learn to play again, and not be afraid to fail.
With my deadline a day away, and my foot elevated above my heart, I called Morris for advice. He suggested I look at my motivation for saying ‘no.’
Dave: Have you ever written a column?
Dave: Maybe you’re afraid of screwing it up and everybody thinking you’re a terrible columnist, and that’s what’s stopping you.
Like the ‘pop’ of my ligament tearing, I felt an instant burst of recognition.
At its worst, improv features performers saying ‘no’ to their cast-mates suggestions, in uncomfortable attempts to one-up each other. Improv at its best showcases people accepting whatever is being presented and building on the idea.
Dave: A series of ‘yeses’ take us somewhere; a series of ‘nos’ doesn’t even get things started. You also need to accept the possibility of it turning out differently than you hoped. Also it’s okay to be scared because it means you’re learning something new.
Adam: So what’s the payoff for having the courage to say ‘yes?’
Dave: You keep getting better at things.
Dave Morris is living his life in the way of improvisation too. His longtime girlfriend, Missie Peters, recently proposed. He said ‘yes.’
As for me, I’m limping along figuratively and literally; trusting that you can never be good at something if you don’t have the courage to be bad at something. Find out more about Dave Morris’ 10 ways improv can improve your life at thewayofimprovisation.com.
Adam Sawatsky reports on arts & lifestyle weekdays on ‘CTV News Vancouver Island with Hudson Mack’. On weekends he hosts ‘Eye on the Arts’ on CFAX 1070.