The Philosophy of Yes, And
I’ve been interested in the Yes, And philosophy for years. Originating as a principle of improv comedy, it’s basically the idea that whatever anyone suggests or throws into the mix while you’re improving, you should accept it and build upon it. For example, if you’re part of an improv group, you’re on stage and your partner suddenly says, ‘Gosh darn it Billy-Ray, we’re stuck on the farm all by our lonesome!‘, then according to the yes, and idea, you should turn around and answer ‘Yes, and the cows need milking too!’ without missing a beat.
Now, I’m no comedian and I’m certainly no good at improv, but for some reason this idea has really stuck with me, and I’ve found myself applying it to many things in my personal and professional life.
Because really, what is the harm in saying yes? Saying ‘no’ would put a stop to the conversation, and nothing more can spring from it, but saying yes – there’s opportunity in that.
Quite a few people have employed the Yes, And idealogy in their companies and business practices. It works well because the ‘Yes’ part focuses on the acceptance and approval of other people’s ideas and contributions, while the ‘And’ part allows others to build upon the existing ideas and suggestions, improving it by way of brainstorming. This fosters a sense of collaboration and co-operation, and encourages great teamwork and communication.
For me, personally, the Yes, And philosophy is not necessarily just about collaboration – it’s also about possibility. It’s about what can happen if you accept an idea and build upon it, rather than rejecting something that sounds a little surprising or out of your comfort zone. So what do you think – will you be saying Yes, And more often in your personal and professional life? It might just lead you down a different, exciting path that will turn out to work in your favour.