Because it makes life better. And it makes me better.
Saying yes is a principle tenant in improv. If you step out onto the stage and say “I don’t know what to order- these diner menus are always SO big”, and your partner says, “We aren’t in a diner, silly, we are at the aquarium”, where on Earth will you go from here? Now, if you stepped out with that same lead, and your partner said “Yes, and there are two new pages added from yesterday!” you can both build from that.
The first example just showed someone saying no. Maybe they had a really great idea for a scene in an aquarium. Maybe they didn’t hear you.Whatever the reason, it negates the other person. There is no listening in that example, and there is no working together. There is a struggle for control.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to constantly do these types of things. I’d rather work collectively. I want to bring people together, not push away and apart from me.
One brilliant Jesuit, Anthony de Mello stated that “Peace is only found in yes”. I agree, and further it by saying that peace is only found in “yes, and…”. To move a scene forward you must say “yes” to your partner, as well as “and…”, to continue the scene.
In everyday life, we can use this principle.To say “yes, and” moves life forward, while adding to its creation. It compels you to first listen, then act. “Yes, and” means , I accept this created reality for what it is in this moment, even if I seek to change it. “Yes, and” means I honor you and your beliefs as much as I honor mine. “Yes, and” means being present in the moment. “Yes, and” means finding positive and constructive ways to say no.
I say “yes, and” to life because it makes me a better listener and a more compassionate person. I say “yes, and” to life because it helps me better deal with this world. I say “yes, and” to life, because I seek peace.