How improvisational theatre helps us to see connections, connect the dots, and make sense of the world

For the past six decades, The Second City based in Chicago USA has produced some of the most unforgettable satire and influential comedians including Bill Murray, Mike Myers, and Amy Poehler.

From that storied base they created Second City Works. Initially into corporate entertainment, today they are leading innovators in professional development, marketing services and event support.

Second City Works’ podcast “Getting to Yes, And” featured Thriving on Overload, with host Kelly Leonard opening by saying to author Ross Dawson:

I was intrigued to see improvisation show up in the book.

“For me, improvisation is a way of letting ourselves be free. And this is where we are. We are constrained. We have built up through all our lives, all our education, all of us, the idea of keeping ourselves in.  Whereas improv is about letting out what is inside of us.”

Go a level deeper on that thought.

‍“One crude parallel is that analysis is out of the conscious mind where we are sort of thinking hard, whereas the unconscious mind is that which is below the surface, that pieces things together and makes the connections. And that’s what we need to do in this complex world is to see the connections. See how the world fits together to connect the dots as it’s often put, and make sense of the world in order to be able to see opportunities to make better sense of the world, to be able to make better decisions in an extraordinarily complex world, and that comes from below the surface. And improv is a way of being able to leave that mind free to let those connections be made to see the whole. So, I think there’s an extraordinary practice for anybody and everyone, in order to facilitate that welling up of that capability, that potential which is below the service, and most of us, and which in leaders in particular needs to be expressed.”

Listen to the full episode on Apple or the Second City Works website.

Thriving On Overload is available as a book or a 10 part interactive course.

January 18, 2023

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