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by Darren Held

There is a time and a place for analysis and, as it turns out, the time and place for analysis is NOT the same as the time and place for the thing being analyzed.

No, wait. It’s not that heady, I promise. Lisa hates it when I get too heady.

Let’s just say you are having difficulty in a relationship. Let’s also suppose you have a therapist because it is, after all, 2011. Now, the appropriate time and place for analyzing your relationship issues would be when you visit your shrink at your regular appointment. You wouldn’t bring your therapist along with you on your date to analyze your situation as it unfolded.

That might seem like common sense, but it isn’t as obvious with certain other activities. And it is actually good advice for those of you who tend to analyze your improv while you are doing it.

The fact that you are analyzing the thing you are doing automatically alters the thing you are doing. So you can’t be fully engaged in your scene if you are busy critiquing the scene as it happens.

If you are like me and love the intricacies and technical brilliance of good improv, it’s hard to stop analyzing and just do it. At our show the other night, I got all wound up in the mistakes that were happening in scenes (mine and others’) and the more analytical I got, the worse my own scenes became. Of course, by then it was too late to do anything about it because I was caught in the vicious circle of judgement.

So the moral of this story is simply: Don’t bring your shrink on your date. If you are doing something, listen to Nike and just friggin’ do it. There will always be plenty of time after doing it to pick it apart and analyze it from 40 different angles. And if you separate the doing and the analyzing, both of those activities will be far more satisfying.

At least I think so. I wasn’t analyzing this blog as I wrote it, so it might be total crap.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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