Best-Kept Secret to Creating Social Change: Improv Best-Kept Secret to Creating Social Change: Improv
Culture

Best-Kept Secret to Creating Social Change: Improv

by Marc Evan Jackson, Alex Gorosh

September 23, 2012

I hold the secret to the fastest, widest ranging, longest lasting, and certainly most fun path to positive, global social change: Everyone in the world should take an improv class. I have never been more serious about anything in my life. If more people improvised, there would be no war. 

But what improv teaches you is that it is okay (in fact, awesome) to fail boldly—to make big, sweeping and courageous decisions on the fly. And that if you do fail (which you TOTALLY will, a lot) you can always just get up, dust yourself off, get another suggestion from the audience, and try again. You are no longer responsible for having the perfect answer right away, but instead are empowered to know that armed with nothing more than your fellow participants, energy in the direction of the common good, and an open heart, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished. 

Improv removes the need to be right all the time. Improv frees one to say, “I don’t know.” And improv takes the focus off you as an individual, and places it on the group, and the common good. 

Full disclosure: There is a down side. Improv will make you realize how awful we humans are to one another. It will point that out to you every time someone begins speaking while someone else is already speaking, and make vivid who in your life is or is not listening. You will see the fear-driven, selfish, self-aggrandizing motivations behind what everyone is saying and doing as they interrupt one another. Once you are exposed to improv, Thanksgiving dinner with your family will become more unbearable than it has ever been. 

I am an actor. I make my living improvising. But improvisation’s beneficial impacts can and will help anyone, in any profession, of any age, in any circumstance. Seriously. We’ve taught this to prisoners – prisoners in prison – and they have raved about the good it’s done in their lives. Surely it can help you too.

Go become a better person. Go take an improv class. 

And please, think of me on Thanksgiving. 

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Best-Kept Secret to Creating Social Change: Improv