In a blog article posted on the Geomic Code website in March of this year, the Institute’s editor said this about the comedy improv method called “Yes, and”: “’Yes, and’ has become a popular brainstorming tool in the business world because it encourages people to listen without judgment and, rather than dismissing a notion as too far flung, including it in the developmental process that brings about new products and services that help make our lives better.” I’ve been taking some comedy improv classes lately and have a new appreciation for how this handy tool can help us interact with the world around us beyond the stage.
In improvisation, while on stage, you are given a line, a topic, or a prop, and now it’s time to create by saying “Yes, and” to what your partner or team says. Your response is, “Yes, I accept you and your idea, and here is how I will build on it.” By doing this, the comedy improv team entertains the audience, and, as Sue pointed out in the March article, by doing this, a project team can also come up with new products and services that help make our lives better.
How appropriate for those of us involved in the business of personal development! This little gem, first used in comedy, can help us all be better at connecting with the others we share the planet with. “Yes, and” leads to laughter, new ideas, and, for those who embrace it, a greater sense of presence in the “now”. It requires being in the moment and paying attention.
Another favorite area of study for me is Neuro-linguistic Practice (NLP), which tells us that we can model “…the more successful parts of…behavior…to effect belief and behavior changes to improve functioning.” NLP and the Geomic Code Research Institute have something in common: the study of unconscious choice.
How does this idea relate to the technique of “Yes, and”? Well, if using this method forces me to be present in the moment and to pay attention to my interactions with others, it is helping me to move in directions I might not otherwise go if I were basing my choices solely on my own experience. I can “shape-shift” incrementally toward a way of viewing my world that will lift up me and that “other”. “Yes, and” opens my world, allowing me to own all of life. I am, simultaneously, whole and a part of all things.
Here is a simple example of how “Yes, and” can add attention, connection, and peace to your life. Feel the difference between the following two sentences:
We went on vacation, but it rained.
We went on vacation, and it rained.
Which one felt better?
Using “Yes, and” is communication that empowers because it does not build a wall between you and your experience. It does not negate you or the experience, nor does it separate you from your experience with that “but”.
Butts are made for sitting, observing, and judging, right? Change those butts into ands and feel the difference, feel the power of action and inter-action.
One of my most influential teachers once said to me, “With little or no doubt, I say ‘yes’.” To that, I add “…and” because that little word has, at its core, Willingness.
Willingness moves toward desires and wants and in the direction of acknowledging and appreciating. Willingness is a pathway to enthusiasm and excitement. It makes life a party that I want to participate in. To play is a willful act.
Will is a powerful word. I use my Will to choose. It’s the vehicle by which I decide. When I accept the premise of another, I reflect my willingness to will into being a new idea born of collaboration. It was an epiphany for me to realize that Willingness is the opposite of resistance.
At the Geomic Code Research Institute, our study of human decision-making revolves around how acceptance and resistance influence our unconscious choices. When I am receptive to the ideas put forth by my partner (in improv, on this project we’re working on, for this journey we are about to embark on…whatever we’re sharing), “and” propels us forward together toward (not away from). No “buts” here. No sitting back on our butts in negative judgment spewing out “can’ts”, “shouldn’ts”, and “won’ts” that impede progress.
“Yes, and” (and its companion, Willingness) requires us to put away having to be right, succumbing to fear, and being the sole owner of the outcome. Willingness is risking, choosing to have fun while also being responsible and accountable.
In my life, my favorite teachers were always willing to go along with my enthusiasm and the excitement I brought to the learning game. The best of them played “Yes, and” well. My coaches loved my Willingness to try “it” (whatever “it” happened to be) another way. They supported me with their own “Yes, and your way works…and try this, too.”
And, if Willingness is a companion to “Yes, and”, it is also partnered with the other virtues that strengthen the human spirit – Compassion, Grace, Patience, Trust, Honesty, Forgiveness…When you take the Geomic Code Assessment, you will see many of these affirming words in your Geomic Word Cloud, which is a composite picture of some of what we at the Institute call your Dynamic Natural Abilities (Geomic D-N-A). “Compassionate”, “Understanding, “Accepting”, “Nurturing”, “Supportive”, “Inclusive”…Don’t those sound like the kinds of support we all need to choose “Yes, and” as we relate to the world around us?
With “Yes, and” in my back pocket, I choose willingly.
At the Geomic Code Research Institute, we can help you focus your attention on your unique set of individual and professional developmental opportunities in a way you may not have done before. Let us help you open the door to these resources you have within yourself. I invite you to take a Geomic Code Assessment and contact us so that we can show you how your Geomic D-N-A can help you better interact with the world around you.