The Power of Yes – June Column

The first rule of improvisational comedy is to say “yes.” The second rule is to add “and.” So, no matter what your partner says, you say “yes – and” so you agree and add to the story. This is what moves the story along. Without adding to it, there’s nothing happening.

If your partner says, “Sit down right here in this barber chair…” and you say, “that’s not a barber chair” then the story has ground to a halt. But if instead you say, “Yes, thank you. And I can see from here that the church across the street still hasn’t repaired the brick where that car crashed into it.” Now we have a story going. The partner might respond, “Yes, and it was so wonderful that the priest was out that day judging the grilled cheese contest at the harvest festival or someone waiting for confession might have been hurt.”

You get the point – the story can go in any direction as long as everyone is agreeing and moving on to the next thing. One of the mistakes people make before they get the hang of it is to limit the options.

I’ve been thinking about how this applies to life in a broader context. I am a “yes” person. My gut reaction is always “yes.” I also know people for whom the gut reaction is “no.” You probably know some of both kinds of people, too.

This instinctive “yes” is how I ended up at an Egyptian wedding and at the chalk pyramids as the sun broke over the horizon. “Yes” is why you are changed by the conversation you have when you stay up all night talking with someone you don’t expect to ever see again.

I’m a big believer in the power of yes. It’s how we add to the story – our story. It’s how we gain experiences, friends and new recipes.

I urge you to make this a summer of being open to the possibilities offered by “yes.” You never know where that might lead. In the meantime, whip up a batch of these cookies to enjoy – you don’t even have to turn the oven on!

No Bake Cookies

2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
3 cups quick cooking oats


In a saucepan mix the sugar, cocoa, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Stir in the peanut butter until it melts, then stir in oats until fully mixed.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper.

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