The other day I was checking out the ol' Tumblr and came across a post via Improv is Easy citing The Broken Record. The post was about famed improv instructor Mick Napier and a two-word phrase he uses to remind people that improv "is the least important thing we’ll ever do in our lives and that even the name ‘longform’ is imbued with undue importance that impedes our ability to be free and just play." The post's author goes on to write that Napier's two-word motto will be her two-word motto going forward. After reading it, I believe I'll make it my motto as well. And you may want to consider it, also.
The part of her post that really hit home was this declaration: "I won’t compare myself to my peers and feel jealous or envious when good things happen to other talented people. I will be patient in my own progress."
I've been involved with DCH for almost three years, and being patient with my progress is something I've struggled with. I'm sure many of you have, too. You may see your friends being asked to be part of troupes. You may see others creating cool videos. And you may be wondering why it isn't "happening" for you.
But you see, everyone's educational path is different. Some improvisers get it right from the start, while some need more time to grow. The one deciding factor for success, I promise you, is consistent commitment. If you're serious about the art form and you want to succeed (your definition of success is your own), then don't worry so much about how well others are doing. Yes, please support them and sincerely congratulate them--we're all a family here--but stop comparing yourself so much to others. Work on yourself at the pace that is natural for you and your strengths will be noticed.
It's not a competition at DCH. It's a group effort toward success. And I know it may sound backwards to say this, but sometimes the best thing you can do for a group is to work on yourself first. You have to be good to help the group be good, and the group can only be as good as the individual members.
Let that Zen sit with you for bit, and then let us know in the comments what declarations you're making for yourself concerning improv.
(Image via Flickr: Guadalupe Cervilla / Creative Commons)