Paul B. Brown, Leonard A. Schlesinger and Charles F. Kiefer (authors of Just Start: Take Action; Embrace Uncertainty and Create the Future ) give us a secret to a happier, more successful life:
“The thing to remember is this: Successful people work with what they have at hand— whatever comes along—and try to use everything at their disposal in achieving their goals. And that is why they are grateful for surprises, obstacles, and even disappointments. It gives them more information and resources to draw upon.”
Life is unpredictable and uneven. The strategies we use to embrace uncertainty in our everyday life can be no different from the strategies we as Improvisers use on stage.
To embrace uncertainty is to:
1. View mistakes as gifts
2. Accept whatever is in front of you
This weekend I led an improv workshop in the wilderness for a group of 50 adults and kids. At one point, we were speaking about failure and what Improvisers do when we “mess up”. To improvisers, mistakes are gifts. Actually…
To Improvisers, everything is a gift.
One participant chimed in, “well, not all mistakes are okay, it depends on the situation”. True, I responded. But to accept a mistake as a gift, to be more tuned into what is happening around us, to stay focused on the positive and in the present moment are all strategies that help us thrive and grow in times of failure. It’s a mindset. And, if this mindset makes us more successful (however you define success), it’s a mindset worth working towards.