Posts tagged “comfort zone”

Introverted Observers

We’ve had a lot of good posts – and comments – as of late about extroversion, introversion, talking to strangers, comfort zones, and so on. This brought to mind a story from a visit to New York a while back. In Let’s Embrace Open-Mindedness I tell two stories from my personal life (e.g., not when conducting research) where I explored the edges of my own comfort zone in just slightly unfamiliar circumstances, one situation where I saw the opportunity and couldn’t make the leap, another where I saw the opportunity and convinced myself to take that leap.

Followers of this blog will know I love taking pictures of curious and interesting things that I see everywhere, but it’s much harder – and not always appropriate – to take pictures of the curious and interesting people that I see everywhere. Indeed, in true Heisenberg fashion, you can’t always get the picture you’d want if you have to interact.

Anyway, visiting New York and walking through Times Square, I came upon people promoting Carrie Fisher’s “Wishful Drinking.” They were dressed as parodies of the book cover, with Fisher as Leia. At two separate points, I asked these hawkers if I could take their pictures.

Well, sure. It’s New York. It’s Times Square, thick with tourists, and these people are calling attention to themselves for promotion. All those cues shift the norm and make it reasonable/comfortable/appropriate/possible to do something that we don’t normally do: asking “Hey, can I take your picture?” That’s probably why I have so many photos taken with Shrek, Mr. Peanut, an Animaniac, the monster – there’s something delightful and ironic about this staged naturalism, as if yes, I am hanging out here with my arm casually thrown around a 6-foot be-monocled legume. The opportunity to ask for a picture is so built-in to our scripts that it seems a crime to not get the picture!

Also see: The bear that saluted me

What am I in for?

I’m feeling eagerness and trepidation over the upcoming Applied Improv Conference. Eagerness because I find improv has enormous potential for creativity and collaboration (and even connections to ethnography) and discussions of improv can be provocative and intellectually invigorating.

And trepidation over whether this event will be filled with earnest, clowny, extroverted, unprofessional flakes where I’ve just got no common ground.

We have an exciting Plenary Session planned for Wednesday evening with Nika Quirk of InterPlay.
InterPlay means “interaction” and what could be better to kick off a conference? InterPlay is easy, fun, and life changing. It is based in a series of incremental “forms” that lead participants to movement and stories, silence and song, ease and amusement. In the process, we unlock the innate wisdom of our bodies and in our relationships.

Nika Quirk is a lifelong mover and student of dance, starting with her interest in wiggling to TV jingles at age 3. She founded and directed a Dance Choir using authentic movement and a collaborative choreography process she developed. Completing the yearlong InterPlay Leadership Program in 1997, she earned certification in the methodology and has focused her application of InterPlay in small groups, individual coaching, and “labs” exploring business partnership. Nika’s career spans law, business management, non-profit program development, academic teaching and professional coaching. In August, she began a doctoral program at California Institute of Integral Studies and is following her curiosity about the connections between improvisational ability and social creativity.

I guess it’s up to me to bring some open-mindedness back and cover up my cynicism (which I oh-so enjoy). The conference is local, so no travel costs, and is relatively inexpensive, and is an experiment for me. I’m passing on some of the typical conferences my peers are attending this year (and that I have been regulars at in the past) in order to branch out, but I can feel the tension inside me over that decision.


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