Giving Thanks, Improv Comedy Style
I said “Improv Comedy style,” not “Gangnam style”…
Tomorrow – Thursday, November 22nd – is Thanksgiving Day (here in the U.S.)
It is a day to pause, reflect, and give thanks for all the things we have.
(At least that’s what it’s supposed to be. For many, it’s a day off from work, a chance to be gluttonous and watch football, and an opportunity to go to sleep early to hit 4 AM “Black Friday” Sales. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we shouldn’t forget the whole “Thanks” part of it!)
This year, I decided to approach the “Thanks” part with an improv comedy mindset, and I would suggest you do the same.
When people give thanks, they may sit for a moment, think of all the things they have to be thankful for, and then maybe write them down or say them out loud out (perhaps as part of a pre-meal toast).
Improv comedy, however, is all about creative expression and explosion. It’s about going far beyond scratching the surface and digging deep, because that’s where the good stuff really lies.
This year, try this simple 12 minute exercise to really appreciate all you have to be thankful for, improv comedy style:
- Grab 2 or 3 blank sheets of paper and a pen.
- Clear your area of any distractions.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- When the timer starts, immediately start writing a list of things you have to be thankful for.
- This is the most important part: For the next ten minutes, until the timer goes off, do not let the pen stop moving! Keep writing items, even if they seem trivial or ridiculous. It doesn’t matter what you write; you are not going to show anyone this list or even read it yourself.
- Keep writing. I can assure you that at some point you will think, “hasn’t it been ten minutes already?!” No, no it has not. Keep writing.
- When the timer goes off, stop writing.
- Take the next two minutes and reflect on all the things you wrote down. Think about all the things you have to truly be thankful for.
That’s all there is to it.
I just did this myself, and in the two minute reflection period afterward I can tell you I felt calmer, more fortunate, and more satisfied with my life than I have in a while.
Gone was the “striving for more,” the “annoyances at things that hadn’t borne fruit yet,” the “frustrations at all of life’s little ‘Dings.’”
I am lucky. Luckier than most. I have a lot to be thankful for.
Do this exercise yourself and you’ll probably feel the same way. The key is in not letting yourself off the hook with the few standard items we all know to be thankful for.
Do it improv style, tap your creativity, dig deep, and you’ll start to feel some real “thanks” this Thanksgiving!
Have a safe, fun, happy, and gratitude filled Thanksgiving!
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By Avish Parashar. As the world's only Motivational Improviser, Avish uses techniques from the world of improv comedy to engage, entertain, and educate audiences on ideas around change, creativity, and motivation.
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