“Improv Wisdom” Quotes

I recently read “Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up” by Patricia Ryan Madson. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. As usual, if you like the quotes, Improv Wisdom.

“I had tried to be worthy of receiving tenure. I didn’t understand that this worthiness could come only from honoring my own voice. Making decisions solely to please others is a formula destined to fail. THe people I admired were not looking over their shoulders to see if their peers were applauding. They were heeding their inner promptings. “I do this because I know it needs to be done.” My search for validation has diverted me from discerning what was uniquely mine.” (13)

“Keith Johnstone’s encouraging quotation form Impro reminds us that this habit can be acquired:

There are people who prefer to say “yes,” and there are people who prefer to say “No.” Those who say “Yes” are rewarded by the adventures they have, and those who say “No” are rewarded by the safety they attain. There are far more “No” sayers around than “yes” sayers, but you can train one type to behave like the other.” (18)

“Art is simply what one does, now who one is.” (39)

“All starting points are equally valid. They being where they are, often in the middle.” (53)

“You can improve how you give a lecture by using the principle of improvised speech. Instead of writing out your notes in precise language, try writing questions to yourself.” (57)

“When you try hard to do your best, the effect on your performance is often to jinx it.” (60)

“Getting a laugh is easy – trivial, actually. Anything unexpected seems funny. This kind of humor is like a sugar hit. It gives a temporary lift, but it is a poor diet and won’t nourish artistically. If you give up making jokes and concentrate on making sense, the result is often genuinely mirthful.” (65)

“Life is attention, and what we are attending ot determines to a great extent how we experience the world.” (67)

“The Japanese have a word, arugamama. It is the virtue of abiding with things as they are.” (77)

“The most consistent road to unhappiness that I know comes from turning a blind eye to reality.” (78)

“in the act of balancing, we come alive. Sensations change moment by moment; sometimes we feel secure, sometimes precarious. In the long run we develop tolerance for instability. As we come to accept this insecurity as the norm, as our home ground, it becomes familiar and less frightening. We can stop trying to flee from the wobble. And sometimes this sense of being off balance is exhilarating and reminds us of the impermanence and fragility of life, nudging us to appreciate each imperfect, teetering moment we are alive.” (82)

“99.9 percent of the time, a mistake is just an unanticipated outcome giving us information.” (105)

“When you make a mistake, turn your attention to what comes next. Focus on doing that well, with full mind and heart. Look ahead, not back.” (108)

“The French word bricolage. It’s the art of commandeering the materials at hand – what is most obvious – to solve the problem.” (111)

“Natalie Goldberg’s first rule for writers, “Keep your hand moving.”” (115)

“Keep adjusting to how it is rather than how you’d like it to be.” (129)

“Tom Byers says these five ruls are essential for the successful entrepreneur:

  1. Show up on time.
  2. Be nice to people.
  3. Do what you say you’ll do.
  4. Deliver more than you promise.
  5. Work with enthusiasm and passion.”

“Enjoyment is a way of approaching an activity, not the activity itself.” (138)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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