“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Jared Shapiro in Ohio and Harry Houdini. Happy Birthday to two peak performers.

I like to think of myself as Picasso-I am the artist of my own life. It’s easy to go with the flow, and live how society thinks you should live. For example, many people choose to become doctors because their parents were. Others decide to get married because they are about that age. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being a doctor or wanting to get married, as long as it is truly what you want and you are not on automatic, or as I like to say, a sheep.

So do me a favor-if you see me on the street today in the Princeton area, please come up to me and say, “Hello, Pablo!”

I love being creative. I love learning new ways to do things-thinking outside the box, guerrilla marketing, and gaining new insights from other performers/fields. So I sat-in on an Improv class last night in Philadelphia taught by the great Jill Whelan, who is best known for her role as Vicki Stubing in TV’s The Love Boat and blockbuster film, Airplane! When I learned about this workshop, I immediately thought that perhaps this could help me improve in my motivational speaking, and it certainly did.

The first thing I noticed was the energy in the room-people were extremely nice, and confident. They were dancing around even when not in the spotlight. And it was contagious. In improv, you feed off of each other, so enthusiasm breeds more enthusiasm. But unfortunately, negativity does the same thing. This applies to life, as well.

One of the rules of the class was that, whatever someone does, “It must be brilliant.” I really liked this because it promoted creativity and kept a positive vibe throughout the scene. Afterwards, tips on how to improve were given. At one point, Jill said, “Don’t doubt yourself-stay in the moment.” We can all use this, on the field, at work, and in school. Much of sports psychology is focusing on staying in the present and not worrying about the past or future.

There were some great exercises that Jill used in the workshop. My favorite was something called “Freeze-tag.” The group made a semi-circle and two people were in the middle acting out a scene, using animated physical gestures. At any time, someone could shout, “Freeze!” and both actors would freeze in whatever position they were in. The person who froze them, chose one actor to take the place of, started in their position, and then proceeded to create a brand new scene out of that position. So if someone was bent over tying his shoes, the new actor could turn it into someone hiking a football. It really promoted creativity and it was extremely hilarious.

I asked Jill how improv could help you in other areas of life, and she said, “Improv helps you be more supportive of the people around you, it helps you create your own energy (you get what you give), and it helps you listen.” Whelan also felt it important to “show” instead of “tell.” That means, take action instead of talking about it.

There are many benefits of improv, not only for aspiring actors. It can help you focus, listen, perform under pressure, gain confidence, and work better as a team. Oh, and it makes you laugh, a lot. And we all know the health benefits of laughter.

For more information on Jill Whelan and her improv classes, visit:

Thanks for reading. And thank you Jill.

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