I knew about “improv wisdom” from “how to save the world”, the Dave Pollard’s blog. You can read here his review of this.
As I started reading, I was afraid it was one of the typical “american” book… with the unique tesis, repeated many times for hundreds of pages. I appreciate very much this slim book.. it was very pleasant to read also for me, nevertheless it was in english (not alwasy so easy to read for me) and never boring.
Dave resumes the ten principles of the books, as follows
“Madson’s book is delightful slim (148 small pages) and readable. It has some wonderful insights in it. It is based around a set of ‘maxims’ which, paraphrased, combined and oversimplified a bit, are as follows:
1. Say “Yes, and…”: Adapt yourself. Accept instead of trying to control the situation. Don’t presuppose that you have a better idea, don’t change or steer the subject, don’t correct others, don’t disengage. Listen and go with the conversation. Pay attention and go with the situation.
2. Be resilient instead of preparing: Don’t anticipate or lock yourself in. Learn to be ready for whatever may happen. Breathe and be present in the moment. Learn to hold balance, to yield, to open and hold open.
3. Just begin: Show up. Start with what’s important or what’s obvious. Step onto the stage. Be on time and value your time. Move. Act to discover what comes next.
4. Make sense: Be clear, even obvious, rather than trying to be clever. Clarify. Explain. Articulate.
5. Pay attention to details: Stand still and look until you really see, listen until you really hear. Use all your senses. Learn to remember people’s names and other details. (This is especially hard for me because I find a lot of what I pay attention to uninteresting, which is a terrible reflection on my inability to concentrate.)
6. Be utterly truthful: Face the facts, and understand them and why they are so. Stop wishing that things (or you) were different. See procrastination, blaming, self-criticism and self-sabotage for what they really are, and then do something about them.
7. Be aware of your purpose: As you achieve it find your next purpose. Ask what would not be achieved if you were not here. Do things intentionally.
8. Share your gifts: Be a steward not a master. Know and share your gifts and discover new ones. Appreciate others’ gifts. Mention what you appreciate. Be supportive and accept support. Share control. Make others look good. Be kind.
9. Make mistakes: Mistakes are how we learn, growth, stretch (the word intention means ‘stretching towards’, and intending is a risky and error-prone practice). It’s also how life evolves, makes quantum leaps, gets better.
10. Play: Have f”n. Be boisterous. Smile.
Now I would thank both Dave and Patricia: after that I said “yes, I will read it”. The day I was reading the first maxim, I was asked by my daughter (21 years) to take her to the university by car… usually I would have said “no, take your bus and don’t bother me, please” but instead I said “ok, I will do” and it was very special to me, to see a special light in her eyes for this unexpected answer!! “just show up” was a reason to go to a meeting with people I didn’t know and it was a very pleasant opportunity to meet new persons.. I have to practice very much..
To me “improv” is also not having any clues about what to do, and most of the times I had to improv I were in dramatical and sad situations, as no one taught me how to act in these moments… so it is important to remember, and Patricia said also this, that you can ask for help, as you are not alone- our time is so short that we couldn’t waste it 🙂 and meaningless acts of kindness make our lives better. Thank you Patricia.