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by Darren Held

If you think I’m crazy with all my talk about improv being just like real life and all, you’re not alone. And we won’t even mention the bunnies. But if you DON’T think I’m crazy, hold on a sec. I’ll convince you.

Yesterday my computer died. Well, technically it’s not dead. It’s in critical but stable condition in ICU and there’s a good chance it will make a partial recovery. In any event, my beloved Mac is taking a few days off. Which means, basically, I’m taking a few days off.

Alert readers will realize that since I’m writing this blog, I must a) have some other computer access, b) possess magical abilities and/or c) bunnies. One or more of those is true, so I am able to do some basic computer tasks like visit FB and upload blog posts. I can’t do the majority of what I do, however, and that’s where improv comes in.

I could sit and fret about the work that’s not getting done. I could project into next week, thinking about how busy I’m going to be when I get the computer up and running and have this big backlog to catch up with. I could blame others, like Apple or Andy Co-Dependent or bunnies, and not take responsibility for the fact that I tried to cram too much crap on my hard drive. I could throw out random information about unicorns.

But I learned stuff in improv that helps me deal with the unexpected – and sometimes unwanted – bits of excitement life throws at me. First of all, I accept it. Like agreeing with whatever label my scene partner gives me… I may not like it, but I accept it and don’t go into denial mode. Second, I don’t panic. The best way I know to NOT panic is to stay in the moment. The reason people typically panic is because they let their mind take them to the worst-case-scenario place, and that, by definition, is almost never good. So stay in the moment and just deal with this… thing… right… now… And third, I trust. In improv, you have to trust yourself and your scene partner. Same is true in life.

So my Mac is wonky. It’s okay. Fortunately the work I have to do is not going to affect the debt ceiling one way or the other, or the unicorns or the cure for cancer. I’ll just think about today and do the stuff I can do and trust that this, like everything, happened for a reason and if I stay in the moment there’s a good chance I’ll figure out what that reason is.

Luckily, these are skills anyone can learn! Even luckier, we are happy to teach them to you. Held2gether classes are starting all the time, and there’s even a 1/2-Day Intro to Improv Workshop coming up on August 14th.

And don’t worry, improv class won’t make you crazy. I was nuts long before I started taking improv.

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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