During the course of a day, you make thousands of tiny decisions. To put butter on your toast or not. To get on the treadmill or not. To do the piece of work you’ve been putting off or not.
Invariably, you follow the course of your inner guidance system – the one that’s got a fairly rigid idea of what you should do, what you should like, what you should want, what you should think, and what your day should look like.
To some extent, that guidance system is in place to get you through the day with ease and to help cut down on the number of decisions you need to make. For example, bran muffins are healthy for you and easy to have for breakfast – so that’s what you eat. Decision made.
Those decisions, made according to your shoulds (and often in your very best interests), end up creating routines.
Those routines create practically the same days with virtually the same outcomes.
Not too playful or especially interesting.
But what if you were interested in creating a different experience? A different day?
It’s possible – playfully.
In theater, there is a form of acting known as improvisation. The actors take their cues from suggestions made by the audience and spontaneously develop dialogues, scenes, and stories – entire plays – based on those suggestions.
In order for an improvised scene to be successful, the improvisers involved must work together responsively to define the parameters and action of the scene, in a process of co-creation. With each spoken word or action in the scene, an improviser makes an offer, meaning that he or she defines some element of the reality of the scene. This might include giving another character a name, identifying a relationship, location, or using mime to define the physical environment. These activities are also known as endowment. It is the responsibility of the other improvisers to accept the offers that their fellow performers make; to not do so is known as blocking, negation, or denial, which usually prevents the scene from developing. ~ Wikipedia
Most of us are resistant to suggestions as a matter of course. It takes too much time to consider the new idea or way of doing things. We know best. It would mess with our routines. We don’t know what the results might be.
So we block the suggestions.
But what if you chose not to?
What would your day look like if you simply followed the suggestions that came your way? If you played along with what life offered?
- Ordered the seared tuna recommended by the waiter instead of your usual salad with dressing on the side.
- Listened carefully to a colleague’s idea around a challenging issue instead of discarding his suggestion immediately because you think he’s an idiot.
- Acted on a loved one’s hint about the toilet seat instead of ignoring it.
- Delighted a customer by responding to a problem immediately instead of saying you’ll have to check with your boss.
- Bought the blue sweater the sales person tells you is a knock-out even though the black one seems more prudent.
- Moved the couch to the other side of the room when your mom says it would look so much better there even though you disagree.
- Went to get ice cream with a friend in the middle of the afternoon, for no particular reason, because you were invited instead of instead of staying home and cleaning the kitchen.
Imagine the new scenes and dialogue you might create, not only within yourself, but in your relationships with others as well.
If it seems too, too much to actually act on these kinds of things, what if you just kept track? What if you just wrote down all suggestions you hear during the course of day?
You might be surprised by all the possibilities trying to get your attention on any given day – simply begging you to create a radically different day.
Harness the energy of co-creation, embrace those little suggestions, and find out what playful things life has in store for you.
Are you ready to play?