Follow Your Feet

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By Jake Bollig

In the art of improvisational comedy, a term is used: follow your feet. This is another way of saying follow your intuition. While standing on a comedy stage, sometimes you will be hit with an idea in which you want to act out. When this happens you tend to instinctively take a half-step forward. This is your body’s natural reaction to the inspiration. Often a beginning actor will stop themselves and second guess their feeling. However, in improv you are never wrong, so “follow your feet” simply means go ahead and test your idea, because the worst thing that happens is you learn something new.

It’s possible the reason someone with equal talent produces significantly more results than you is because they are willing to take the extra risk. When they are blessed with a moment of insight, it is acted upon instead of dissected to the point of talking themselves out of doing the task. Think about the last time you had a great moment of inspiration and then never acted upon it because you came up with several reasons why you should save it for later. We are all guilty of doing this at some point. Is there a moment in your life that comes to mind?

In that moment, why didn’t you take the leap of faith to see if it was worth your time? Was it because you didn’t know how to do it, or perhaps it was going to put you into an uncomfortable situation? We will never to be able to further our lives if we are unwilling to take chances with the little soul whispers or intuitions we receive.

Why do you think you have those feelings of wanting something different? Do you really think your mind, which is the smartest computer man has ever known, would inundate your consciousness with suggestions if there wasn’t some truth behind it? Follow your feet.

I would like to share the Parable of the Chinese Farmer:

Once there was a Chinese farmer who worked his poor farm together with his son and their horse. When the horse ran off one day, neighbors came to say, “How unfortunate for you!” The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

When the horse returned, followed by a herd of wild horses, the neighbors gathered around and exclaimed, “What good luck for you!” The farmer stayed calm and replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

While trying to tame one of the wild horses, the farmer’s son fell, and broke his leg. He had to rest up and couldn’t help with the farm chores. “How sad for you,” the neighbors cried. “Maybe yes, maybe no,” said the farmer.

Shortly thereafter, a neighboring army threatened the farmer’s village. All the young men in the village were drafted to fight the invaders. Many died. But the farmer’s son had been left out of the fighting because of his broken leg. People said to the farmer, “What a good thing your son couldn’t fight!” “Maybe yes, maybe no,” was all the farmer said.

 

Follow your feet.

The point of this parable is we never know if something that happens is going to be a good thing or a bad thing. Have you had a time when something you thought would be good turned out bad and something you thought would be terrible ended up being the best thing that happened to you? Most things are not nearly as negative as they seem in the moment, and the same is true for things we think are great.

The late Steve Jobs said, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

It’s been said that your best opportunity to learn is in an uncomfortable state. The areas of your life which make you uncomfortable is really just a sign that you need to immerse in the subject and face the thing that brings you uncertainty. You have many years of experience on this planet, and each of those years have combined to bring you subtle hints of your next move. Listen to it.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stated, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that changes really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

 

Follow your feet.

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