What’s the drill – February 26: Controlling the outcome

Try as we might, we can never really know the outcome of anything. My book might not sell, I may not get hired for a job, the group project may actually exceed expectations.

The more we try to exert influence over circumstances we can’t and don’t actually control, the more frustrated we can become.

Beginning Improvisers are often fearful their first time taking the stage. Neurologically they feel threatened, and this fear shows up in different behaviors. Often times the feeling of threat or lack of safety makes us want to control the scene because we think we can control the outcome.

In spite of what we think, we never know the outcome of anything.

When the stakes are high, our task to not control the outcome gets tougher. We feel that we have something to lose. When money, pride, reputation are on the line, the job gets even tougher – especially if you are a leader.

Teaching others to let go, accept offers, and say “yes, and” means controlling less and supporting more. It can be a fundamental shift to our psychological and neurological safety.

In tough, stressful and threatening situations, we revert back to our natural instincts and habits. If we are to help others lead through change and high-stakes, it will take practice and it will take work but the outcome will be worth it…of that we are certain.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Lindsey.

    I often find that players block most often when they’re feeling afraid or they have a need to maintain control: “No, I will not let you change me. At least I can control that.” The same is true in workplace and relationship settings.

    This is one of the places I think Buddhism and Improv most relate. In that worldview, one of the Marks of Existence, the truths about reality, is impermanence (anicca). Things change–ourselves included–and we suffer when we fight that truth. As you say here, “The more we try to exert influence over circumstances we can’t and don’t actually control, the more frustrated we can become.”

    Here’s to letting go of what we can’t control…

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