Woman jogging away from camera wearing trainers

Progression, not Perfection

By Matt Martinez on February, 5 2018
Matt Martinez

Matt Martinez is a marketing specialist at Foodesign.

As I think most of you know, I was an improv comedy instructor for just over ten years before switching over to marketing.

If you've spent any amount of time teaching, you know that some of the most profound lessons are ones that you learn from watching others learn.

At least that's how it was for me.

There's one lesson in particular that has kept resurfacing in my mind over the last few weeks, and I thought I'd share it with you just in case you need something like this today.

A Monday Motivation, I guess.

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Improv is a special sort of weirdness.

It's not really "acting," per se, although there are elements.

Improv is reacting.

You don't know what's going to come next, but you have to be ready for it.

When someone begins learning improv -- and even as they progress through intermediate classes -- they tend to concentrate on what they learned in their lessons so intensely that everything they do feels insincere and forced.

As you might suspect, insincerity and forced activity is the mortal enemy of a good scene.

To try and combat that early on, I would line up the class across the stage and tell them to walk "perfectly" from one side to the other. I would watch for the "most perfect" and give them a prize.

Suddenly a group of adults -- who had glided effortlessly to the stage just moments before -- would devolve into a stutter-stepping mass of slow walkers, heel-toeing and bumping into one another in their crossing.

Why?

If you focus all of your energy towards walking "perfectly," you're going to walk weirdly.

Once the group was on the far side of the stage, I would then hop up and ask them to join me in the center.

Miraculously, they could walk normally again.

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As adults, we forget that it took us years to learn how to walk.

We take it for granted.

But talk to anyone who works at a rehab clinic and they'll tell you it's a highly complex action that you can't just re-learn overnight.

The same goes for what we do at work. It's taken years to learn. It's highly complex.

And if you focus all of your energy towards working "perfectly," you're going to work weirdly.

Let go of the idea of "perfection." It'll just trip you up.

Instead, keep your focus on the destination and trust your legs to get you there.

Don't let perfection be the enemy of progression.

 

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