A Disposable Life

One of the fundamental ideas behind Improv is that it is disposable, anything we create exists for a moment and then evaporates. The upside is that improvisers learn to believe in the power of creativity, and the moment. The downside can be that our great work only exists for those who were present for it, and then we are left with nothing (not really though).

  1. A lot of improvisers struggle with this idea, and in a number of ways. Let’s talk about two options – there are many:
    Some improvisers treat the moment like a death sentence, and try to rush through as much as they can before they lose the option. Problem is that none of their ideas get the time of day, and they maybe rub a few people the wrong way in the process. But no one can say they didn’t do something.
  2. Some improvisers put the moment on a pedestal. If the moment has infinite potential, then any choice reduces it’s potential, which can be frightening. But not making a choice means missing out on 100% of its potential – and the potential of future moments.There’s a small spark in all of us, that says we might be special and it can be immobilizing.

Life is the same way.

I have lived Option 1 for a long time, and realized a lot of time was put into activities that didn’t mean much to me, but no one could say I wasn’t doing anything – which felt comforting at the time. This is how I got one of my ribs broken by a naked woman in Tokyo, I lost $5000 in 5 minutes and dated a woman who had slept with a guy called Eggle.

I have lived Option 2 also. This is how I doubled my income in a year and felt like I had nothing to live for. Only to go to an Improv class, reduce my income to 0, and feel like the world was my oyster. (I also met a time traveling version of myself who told me to be who I am. But that’s another story.)

The fact is, none of us is especially special – sorry self-help industry – but the moment is definitely special, and different for each of us, which means it’s the only thing that is truly our own. And you can either breathe and live in it, as it is, with all the things that make you feel good, make you feel bad, make you who you are. Or you can pour your effort in to not honoring where you are at right now. We improvisers have a word for that too. We call it fear.

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