I was at breakfast over the holiday break with some long-time friends – catching up and filling each other in since we last met. At one point we started to talk about those people you meet who never, ever, ask you about you. We all know them, right? The question at the table was: “What’s up with that?” I said it’s a lack of curiosity. And curiosity (along with a sense of humor) is one of the traits I most value in a person.

Improvising is practice in the art of curiosity. Improv helps to cultivate a curious mindset. When people say that you need to develop a high reference level to be good at improv, they’re referring to broad information gathering across many subjects. The more you know, the more you bring to your work on stage (or to any creative situation). But it goes deeper than that. Diverse engagement and inquiry lead to broader perspectives and more flexible points of view.

Curiosity leads to more possibilities for interesting discoveries and connections. And with this comes more potential for collisions of diverse ideas to fuel the flames of creative action. In the end, being curious is one of the first steps on the journey to fulfilling your role as a productive and unique member of your team, your community, and your tribe. Being curious and making connections is the game inside the game in every improv game we play.

And – it can’t hurt when it comes to interesting life catch-ups with long-time friends!