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by Darren Held

Lisa and I were discussing my shortcomings yesterday (well, not all of them; that would take a LONG time). Just the obvious ones: girl, blonde and straight. I argued that “blonde” shouldn’t be held against me since I am not technically a natural blonde. Lisa countered that blonde is a state of mind more than a hair color and that in that regard, my blondness is in fact natural.

Holy randomness, Batman, what is she talking about now?!? And does it have anything to do with improv?

Please don’t doubt me, peeps. It upsets me to think you don’t have faith in my ability to tie anything and everything to improv.

See, what Lisa’s remarks made me think about was the notion that literally everything is a state of mind. Facts are facts, of course. But a fact in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing from one person to the next. “I have a cold,” may be a statement of fact. But for one person that may mean whining and feeling sorry for himself (cuz it’s usually a man who can’t cope with a cold, let’s be honest) while for another person, it means, “Hey! I have an awesome sexy voice for a change!”

There may be facts about your improv skills and abilities, but it’s your state of mind regarding those facts that make all the difference in the world. You can defend your weaknesses and hide behind your limitations. And if you do, you get to keep them. Or you can use those weaknesses and limitations to inspire you to work harder and become even better. You can stick with what you’re already good at, and ignore the stuff you struggle with. And if you do, you’ll see all your friends and classmates passing you by. Or you can trust that what you’re good at will still be there while you take some time to focus all your attention on the stuff you struggle with.

Facts are facts. But your state of mind is what determines what’s the truth. In improv and in life. Just sayin’.

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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