In improv, there is one rule and one rule only. You must agree. You see, everything falls apart if you disagree in an improv setting. If your co-star walks into the room and says, “Geezus! Since when do you live with a baby elephant?!” the only proper response is to say something about your new roommate, the elephant in the room.
Well, as it turns out, humans are naturally quite agreeable creatures. Remember, we are governed by DNA that guides us to seek safety and, like water, enjoy the path of least resistance. We’re hard wired this way for good reason, too. With ease comes safety. With safety comes survival.
Well, life isn’t improv and sometimes it’s quite important to be disagreeable. After all, survival isn’t nearly as predicated on primitive dangers as it once was. In fact, in many instances we can not only afford to take on some resistance, the healthiest modern expressions of life often require ignoring the alarm bells that we hear when we choose paths of resistance to intentionally seek resistance. Isn’t it the challenges as simple as exercise and complex as tough relationships that force us to grow?
While being disagreeable for the sake of disagreeing doesn’t carry any merit, I’d like to propose that we ought to avoid our default to be agreeable. Far too often, we’re persuaded otherwise. This agreeable nature is the mechanism that allows peer pressure to work in young mischievous kids, for example. More profoundly, it’s the reason why many adults today stand on shaky ground when it comes to their beliefs.
I am as big of a fan as any when it comes to embracing curiosity and seeking information, but can you take in compelling information as still disagree? This is a skill worth fighting for. Can you read a book, I mean read it cover to cover, not passively listen to it on audio, but read it cover to cover and still disagree regardless of how many letters the author has after her name? Can you watch the arguments set out by a documentary, respect it, and still disagree? Can you go to weekend seminar and not come home and completely reverse everything in your life?
If you’re chronically agreeable, you likely:
- Are isolated by confirming people and information.
- Haven’t put in the work understand your beliefs.
Neither scenarios are healthy. Again, this isn’t a suggestion to be contrarian for the sake of rebellion. It’s a basic call to resist when it’s time to resist. Being disagreeable is a mathematical eventuality when you’re doing the work to dig into your beliefs. I’d like to hope it would take a bit more than an articulate counter point to get your to concede your beliefs.
After all, one of the most powerful things you can say is, “I disagree.”
Find a 1RM Snatch..
Then, AMRAP 8
10 Hang Power Snatches (95/65)