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by Darren Held

I had lunch with the bff the other day, just the two of us – which we have to do on occasion so that we can talk about improv incessantly without annoying the crap out of other people. We also ate big, juicy burgers and drank wine, cuz that’s how we roll.

Anyway, in our incessant improv talk, we covered the topic of confidence vs. ego. Because we’re deep, duh. Improv obviously requires a certain amount of confidence, even if it’s just enough confidence to show up at class for the first time. With every exercise and every class, confidence grows and students get braver about trying new things and committing and saying “screw you” to the prospect of failure.

Confidence is your best friend in improv… and vice versa. If you don’t have a lot of confidence, taking a Held2gether improv class can help you build it. At the same time, confidence will help you improve at improv. So really, they’re a match made in heaven.

Ego, on the other hand, can only get you in trouble. Ego is the thing that makes you think your idea, character or agenda is better than the other guy’s. It’s the thing that makes you go for a joke in order to get a cheap laugh for yourself. It’s the thing that makes you argue with your teacher, defend your mistakes and ignore critiques.

Don’t get me wrong. We all have egos, and we all get to deal with their messes in different ways. But it’s good to be aware of the difference so that when you find yourself engaging in ego-driven behavior, you can remind yourself that those behaviors are actually blocking you from improving and learning the skills that would build your confidence instead.

Ego is a thing that announces, “I’m already great. I don’t need anybody else.” Confidence is a thing that says, “I’m comfortable admitting I don’t know everything, and I’m totally game to try somebody else’s ideas and see how those pan out.”

Not only will you learn a lot more and have more fun if you practice confidence instead of ego, but your classmates and scene partners will enjoy playing with you a helluva lot more as well.

Now, is it to early for a glass of lunch wine?

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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