When on the improv stage, one of the most important principles is listening to and supporting your partner. If you do this, you help create a very strong sense of team, and also further the story in a way that is interesting to the audience. For example, if someone says, “let’s go to the store,” you can “yes and” it by saying, “wonderful, I love JZ’s store, because it has such great record memorabilia that dates back to the fifties!” What you have done is “yes and-ed” your partner. You have essentially built on the first concept they introduced, a store.
Contrary to good improv, one could have done a “yes but.” For example, “Okay, that store is fine, but I really want to go to the movies.” That is denying your partner on stage, and invalidating their idea. You are not building on their initial idea, nor are you moving the story forward. You’ve essentially blocked them. Your story has now halted, and your partner does not necessarily feel supported. This is the importance of “yes and-ing” rather than “yes but-ing.”
Whether you’re an investor, an improviser on the stage, leading a team at a company, or a soccer captain, we can all practice the glory of “yes and-ing” one another. If we do so, we will build a beautiful and strong world based on a foundation of supporting wins for everyone, all around.
Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert) is a Hindu spiritual teacher, and the author of Be Here Now. He was born Jewish, considered himself an Atheist in his early years, and went on a spiritual search to India in the 1960s. There he met Neem Karoli Baba, who became his guru, and gave him the name Ram Dass, meaning “servant of God.” Ram Dass has written more than ten books and founded two foundations, the Seva Foundation and Hanuman Foundation.
When getting involved internationally, it’s so important to listen to others. Respect the person, the culture, and their local community. To do so is to honor the unique wisdom and presence they bring to the world.
Listening, and striving to understand other people, is the right thing to do. It will also open your business up to new opportunities. When you honor people and their local customs, they will want to work with you. And you will love working with them! Listening is mirrored in Respect, which is a type of “business bliss.”
I am one of those fortunate people who did not need to board a flight this past holiday. My family is local: My parents live 45 minutes away on the Peninsula, and my sister, brother-in-law and three nephews and niece live about 1 mile from my parents.
That’s truly been a joy for me, the simple presence of family. Being able to babysit last minute; experiencing the chaos of taking care of kids during ‘meltdown time’ at 5 pm with a 6, 4 and 1 year old when they were growing up ; celebrating their progress on their soccer field; scootering with them to ice cream on a warm summer night, after dinner.
Why do we allow ourselves to live apart? Why is it so accepted?
I know I am fortunate. Sometimes people have to move because of marriage. A new job. Taking care of an elderly parent. All very legitimate reasons which contribute to family, and yet, also separate…
In a recent Gallup Poll, 16% of the world said they would like to move to another country. This comes from both dire situations (such as Somalia) to the desire for luxury or adventure. But in one region the rates are lower than Europe and America: Asia. Due to progress in political freedoms and enhanced economic opportunities, many Asians are staying put: Only 10% desire to move. But there’s another factor as well: Close family ties, and a cultural commitment to taking care of family, keeps the desire to move low.
Let’s learn, if we are so fortunate, from this cultural and familial commitment to keep family close…
“Greatness consists in doing great deeds with little means in the accomplishment of vast purposes.
It consists in the private ranks of life, in helping one’s fellows, in benefiting one’s neighborhood, in blessing one’s own city and state.”
– Russell Conwell
It’s that simple.
Give something today,
Russell Conwell (February 15, 1843 – December 6, 1925) was an American Baptist minister, orator, philanthropist, lawyer, and writer. He is best remembered as the founder and first president of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and for his inspirational lecture Acres of Diamonds. The son of Massachusetts farmers, Conwell attended Yale University and after graduating enlisted in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1880, and delivered his famous speech “Acres of Diamonds” over 6,000 times around the world. The central idea of the work is that one need not look elsewhere for opportunity, achievement, or fortune – the resources to achieve all good things are present in one’s own community. Conwell’s capacity to establish Temple University and his other civic projects largely derived from the income that he earned from the speech. The published version has been regarded as a classic of New Thought literature since the 1870s.
I love how Howard Zinn focuses on maintaining the human spirit. Throughout his life dedication to combatting injustice, striving to help those marginalized, and being involved in a brutal World War, Howard held his views of hope.
“…I intend to be the voice of reasonable optimism, to figure out a passage through this tough time. To have hope, one does not need certainty, only possibility.”
Let’s keep our minds open to the great possibilities which abound before us. There is always a way, a pathway, a new opportunity, a new possibility. A New Hope!
Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a historian, author and activist. He was a pilot in WWII, an experience which shaped his outspoken opposition of war. He was a professor of political science for many years at Boston University. He is best known for his book, A People’s History of the United States, presenting history from the point of the view of the marginalized.