Voluntary Improviser

Day 154 Week 23 Q2 Sunday, June 4, 2023

Improvising is almost impossible to do for some and equally almost impossible to stop for others. I am in the latter category, and although there are circumstances where this may be what is called for, certainly, most of the time, this is not true. It has been said when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail or something like that. When you are a creative outlier, every situation can look like an opportunity to apply creativity. And just as this is not rational, neither is involuntary succumbing to knee-jerk improvising,  although it may be a way to pinch yourself to see if you are alive.

For those of us who have to create to feel fully alive, there can be a tendency to improvise a lot as a way to deal with life. This is true for me and perhaps for some of you. Now, others have called innovation disruptive, and it most certainly can be. This is neither inherently bad nor good, for it depends upon whether the situation needs to be disrupted or not.  If you are a natural disrupter, you may feel compelled to do so more frequently than is called for. 

Equally interesting, if you are a natural improviser, you may derive great pleasure from changing things up. And just because you can, does not mean that you should. Sometimes things are working pretty well and do not need not be disrupted or involuntarily extemporaneous. Remember, not every situation has nails in it or needs hammers.

Part of making a move from a creative outlier to a sustainable innovator has to do with the successful self-management of these natural creative tendencies, for although it may be pleasurable for you to create, disrupt, improvise and innovate, it most certainly is not for most of the rest of the world, who in general is pretty resistant to change.  Sometimes they are resistant because of fear, like staying in an abusive relationship, but much of the time, they are resistant because things do not need changing, not by you or by anyone else. Sometimes things just work.  Sure, you may be able to imagine improving almost everything, but this is not always true, welcome or even useful. It can, in fact, be counterproductive to flex your creativity muscles too extemporaneously and too often.

In some situations, improvisation is called for and beneficial, which is why I like to listen to and play jazz. But there are limits even in art forms that rely upon improvisation. The bottom line is there can be too much of a good thing. Whether binging on dessert or extemporaneous change agency, the outcome may not be what anyone desires.

This is why improvising, even if easy and natural, should usually be voluntary.