Monday, September 21, 2009

"Yes, and..."

What happens when you sit on a chair?

Well, it supports you. Or at least if tradition holds with the past several bazillion times in your life in which you've sat on a chair. But what would you do if instead it collapsed, and you found yourself in a pile of splintered wood on the floor?

We make assumptions every day. Reasonable assumptions, good assumptions based on experience, "no, duh" assumptions. We even make some bad ones, but more often than not we can rely on these pre-processed thoughts. Sometimes, though, they fail us.

I made such an assumption nearly a year ago with a job that I took. The reasonable, good, "no, duh" assumption might be explained later, but right now I'll just say that when it didn't pan out I quit. But that failed assumption had repercussions:
  • Because I was in a lease, I had to stay in a small town where there weren't a lot of jobs.
  • Being in said small town, I had to scrape together (at the last minute) a handful of adjunct teaching positions to make ends meet.
  • I am now unable to attend a dear friend's wedding that I'd been looking forward to for about a year.
  • I've had to put several goals on hold while I recover from the problems the situation has caused.
  • My health has deteriorated drastically due to stress, resulting in nearly chronic pain and susceptibility to things like the flu.
My problems are far from the worst, and I recognize the blessings that go along with these frustrations (hey, I have work, for example). But today, the negative has been weighing me down and crushing my spirit. I think the part I can't get past is that anyone would have made the same reasonable, good, "no, duh" assumption I made, yet in my case it was disastrous.

So when I was reading the last chapter of Trust Agents, by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, one part really caught me:

"One of the basic concepts behind improvisational comedy provides an example of how you, as a trust agent, should think. This is the practice of saying, "Yes, and..." [...] The premise of this rule is that to collaborate, you can never crush a scene by saying no to the imagination of another participant. Thus, if two people are in a scene, and one advances the story in some way, it's important to answer any question by first displaying your acceptance and then advancing the story: "Yes, and..."
Reasonable assumptions are great, and being screwed over sucks. Sometimes, even when it isn't your fault and you're just too pretty to do so, you have to start over. So if you haven't figured it out yet, this site is a part of my "Yes, and..." It's one of the ways I'm advancing my story.

How are you advancing yours?

1 comment:

Kiki said...

Yes and....certain people you trusted should now sleep with one eye open. Mwa ha ha!!