In-Sourcing Blog

Life is an improvisation

I’m sure you’re familiar with the sardonic old saw, “Want to make God laugh?  Tell him your plans.”

Control of the future is an illusion, but we are not rudderless when our destination is marked by an intention as distinct from a roadmap.  Rarely do we get from Point A to Point B without a detour or two, or three or four.  How one adapts to the diversions along the way is the key to winding up at ambition’s terminus.

Agility is the built-in when setting out to reach a goal.  Watch it in action at a Second City improv show.  There’s a flow to the skit, the actors diligently avoiding the word “no” as they respond to their prompt, adapting their rejoinder in a way that adds to the premise, building to the climactic moment which arrives organically.

Silicon Valley software programmers know the concept; they call it Agile Methodology, with solutions evolving along the way until a satisfactory conclusion is realized.  It’s extemporization rather than starting with the fully defined product as specified, and then trying to build it precisely as proposed.  In effect, it’s a series of failures which lead to improvisation which leads to success!

“Success is 99% failure” said Honda car founder Soichiro Honda.  Talk about adapting to failure, he started out in a wooden shack manufacturing bicycle motors!

Most successful people will even tell you that failure was an integral and essential part of their success.  Why?  Because each time they failed, they learned something new.  Each time they failed, they used the experience to motivate them to try again in a different way – improvisation.

For most of 2020, improvisation has been the norm.  The impact of Covid-19 heightened life’s uncertainty exponentially and challenged us to find new answers for the old ways of doing things.  We Zoom, wear masks, ride elevators standing on designated circles.

Like all of us, unable to do what once was commonplace, I thought to myself, “I wonder what the result would be if I try it another way…”

… and re-think my lifestyle now that the city is shuttered, and my office is closed and the joy of spending more time with my granddaughter is newly in reach.

Thus, this update.  In September, I moved from downtown Chicago to the nearby suburb of Lincolnwood, playing Clue and Wig Out with Madelyn and doing virtual sessions with clients from my new, in-home office space until it is safe to be “in person” again, offering clients a choice between a downtown or suburban location.

When you think about it philosophically, our very existence is entirely gratuitous.  Every moment is the moment, the only moment. There is no predicting with absolute certainty, what the next moment will bring.  Which makes life “along the way” either terrifying… or a marvelous adventure.  (Who knows where I’ll be living in 2022!)