Hey, it’s me Mark!
Improvisers spend a lot of time doing improv, or practicing improv, or talking about it. It reaches a certain point where their families see them investing an enormous amount of time into this thing and they wonder, “Are you ever going to see a return on that investment?”
Our wonderful families and friends aren’t talking about an emotional return. They’re talking about money. Are we going to make our money back?
The conventional wisdom (usually shared with a person who has been doing improv for a year and loves it and wants to devote the rest of their Earthly existence to the promotion of this art) is that you will never make a living performing improv. You might someday be able to scratch out a living teaching it. But you can’t live off improv performance. It’s sad but true.
I’ve been getting deep into Seth Godin this week. He’s an author and an entrepreneur. He talks about marketing frequently. Mostly, he’s just a good insightful guy. I like him. We’d probably be friends if we met. It’s no big deal.
Something Godin talks about is how we’re at the beginning of this new chapter in the world. We’re finishing up the chapter about the technological revolution. In the new chapter, what drives a person’s success is the ability to innovate. If you’re doing some task at your job, a machine could be invented tomorrow to do that. Boom. No more job. But if you have the ability to think differently, or the ability to let yourself think differently, you can never be replaced.
He says that we need to fail. We need to be willing to fail. Successful people are the ones who have failed more than the rest of us.
So will I ever make the money back that I spent learning to improvise? Sure. Because improv taught me to be comfortable trying new things. Improv taught me to fail.
I don’t just fail onstage. I fail every day. I fail in my relationship with my wife. I fail in my relationship with God. I fail at work. I fail everywhere. I’m getting really good at failing. It’s exciting.
I want to work in marketing. I’m not there yet, but I will be soon. How do I know?
Because I’m fantastic at failing.
Hey, it’s me Mark.
I get that a lot of what I talk about on here can get pretty zen. But that’s because what I’m talking about isn’t practical. We’re not talking about specifics. This is about a worldview, it’s a way of approaching life.
I like to listen to Dave Ramsey, he’s a financial expert who is obsessed with getting people out of debt. He makes a great point about getting out of debt. You won’t get out of debt until you change the way you think about money. It’s not as simple as “do this, don’t do that.” It’s about changing your relationship to money.
Because at its heart, it’s about respecting money. You need to learn to respect money before you’ll treat it well.
The reason I encourage people to practice improv is because it will change their worldview. For me, it shifted the way I think about relationships and the way I approach my own creativity.
It has affected the way I see a lot of other things as well: work, failure, vulnerability, prayer.
You should take improv because it will change your relationship to the world.
Catholicism is a worldview. It’s not just a series of rules. It’s not just a story. It’s a deeper understanding of what the world is and who I am within it.
Catholicism is about stepping back. How did the world begin? Where did life come from? Why are we here? These are big questions; too big to be examined from so close.
“Life comes at you pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you just might miss it.” Ferris Bueller
We all want to improve. You can either do this by trying to change the individual choices you make, or you can change the way you see the world. The more you respect the world, the better your choices will be.
Take a step back.
NOTE: Life’s a little crazy right now, so I’m trying a shorter format for the next few months. Hit the subscribe button to make sure you don’t miss any posts. Thanks for reading!
Hey, it’s me Mark!
One of the foundational ideas in improv is “yes and.” I feel bad for not talking about it earlier, but it is big and I couldn’t quite figure out how to present it. So I’m going to just try and take some small nibbles and see if we can’t all start to understand this idea a little better.
This weekend, my nieces visited us. Now, these are new nieces that I picked up by marrying a wonderful woman who happened to have some nieces. But they live far away in a distant land called Georgia, where things are more quaint and warm. We don’t get to see these nieces much, so I was determined to secure the “favorite uncle” title that I believe I deserve. Continue reading