Get the key ideas from

Happy Accidents

The Transformative Power of “Yes, and” at Work and in Life

By David Ahearn, Frank Ford, David Wilk
13-minute read
Audio available
Happy Accidents by David Ahearn, Frank Ford, David Wilk

Happy Accidents (2017) is about the authors’ experiences in Four Day Weekend – an improv comedy troupe from Fort Worth, Texas. It chronicles the success Four Day Weekend achieved over the course of 20 years and reveals how anyone can use the principles of improv comedy to become more positive, creative, and better at dealing with obstacles in life.

  • Thoughtful individuals who want to approach life more positively
  • Fans of comedy
  • Outgoing people who’d like to improve their communication skills

David Ahearn, Frank Ford, and David Wilk co-founded Four Day Weekend and are Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at Texas Christian University. As leaders in culture transformation and team empowerment, they’ve performed thousands of shows to audiences around the world – including military veterans, company professionals, teachers, students, and two US presidents.

 

© David Ahearn, Frank Ford & David Wilk: Happy Accidents copyright 2017, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

Happy Accidents

The Transformative Power of “Yes, and” at Work and in Life

By David Ahearn, Frank Ford, David Wilk
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Happy Accidents by David Ahearn, Frank Ford, David Wilk
Synopsis

Happy Accidents (2017) is about the authors’ experiences in Four Day Weekend – an improv comedy troupe from Fort Worth, Texas. It chronicles the success Four Day Weekend achieved over the course of 20 years and reveals how anyone can use the principles of improv comedy to become more positive, creative, and better at dealing with obstacles in life.

Key idea 1 of 8

Improvisational comedy can teach us valuable lessons in positivity.

Four Day Weekend had almost nothing to their name when they started out as an improv group in 1996. They had previous experience in comedy and certainly some youthful optimism, but they had never managed a business.

So how did a limited-run comedy show morph into a global phenomenon that has performed for two US presidents and held thousands of workshops teaching positivity to business leaders and future generations?

To put it simply: “Yes, and.”

“Yes, and” is a foundational principle in improvisational comedy. It indicates that a performer should always take whatever crazy suggestion is thrown at her and not just run with it, but build on it. The result is an atmosphere where creativity can flow – and there’s no such thing as a bad idea. Going even further, “yes” is a positive notion that suggests productivity, while “and” communicates a desire for connection and teamwork.

This is something that a large hospital in the US learned in 2016. The hospital requested Four Day Weekend’s help with improving its internal communications after an audit ranked it last in terms of employee satisfaction and customer service.

The troupe encouraged the hospital staff to practice daily “Yes, and” exercises with their coworkers to improve their interactions and teamwork. Later that year, the hospital was re-ranked – and came out at number one in employee satisfaction! In just eight months, “Yes, and” had taken it all the way to the top.

The flip side of “Yes, and” are the words “No” and “But.” These are barriers to creativity and the natural enemies of improv comics; they stop performers from thinking freely and building on each other’s ideas. Improv teaches us to convert these words into “Yes, and” whenever possible, as this approach tends to open the doors that “No” closes.

To identify confidence and creativity in their improv workshops, for example, Four Day Weekend ask participants if they can paint. Usually only around a third of adults say they can. When they ask an audience of young children, though, all of them say yes. When it comes to creativity, children have a “yes” mindset. They believe in themselves and each other much more than adults do.

When we refuse to let judgment dominate, we can welcome new ideas into play and live a “Yes, and” life. It’s a path that doesn’t require any special skills or background – just an open mindset and a willingness to collaborate.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.