I don’t say this enough and that is “Thank you.” Next to “Yes and…,” thank you can be two of the most powerful words. Instead of being grateful, I am usually busy comparing myself to others, which just makes me feel worse.
But being grateful and saying thank you for what I do have right now can not only change your thinking, it can also set you up to be able to take it in even more good things in the future. Although I still have a lot more work to do on this, here are three tips for increasing gratitude in your life:
1. Write out a gratitude list
Oprah did this and she’s done alright. Write out a list of the five or 10 things you are grateful for every day, from the little stuff to the big stuff, like having good eyesight, going to lunch with a friend, etc. It doesn’t matter what the things are, just as long as you write them down.
2. Start E-mails and Conversations with Thank You
Starting all e-mails and conversations, especially difficult ones, with a thank you, is one of the most powerful ways of having better relationships with people. You will not believe how it changes your tone. Start by saying something like, “Thanks for getting back to me,” or “Thanks for your interest in class,” or “Thanks for your hilarious e-mail,” before you respond with anything negative.
3. Take a compliment
When you get compliment after a show, after a class or at your day job, say THANK YOU, and nothing else. No excuses, no justifications, no “Oh, the other people in the group are just as talented,” no bullshit. Just THANK YOU. I don’t care how many times you need to say this to prevent the other shit that usually follows. And if you are really advanced at this, try to actually mean it. That takes time, and I am still working on it.
And now, I would like to thank you for reading my blog, listening to Improv Nerd, and taking my Art of Slow Comedy Workshop or classes this year. I also want to thank all the people who have helped me over this year, from every intern we have had; to my wife, Lauren; to my producer, Ben Capraro; to the good people at Stage 773. Thank you also to all of the cities I went to this year to do Improv Nerd and teach: Huge Theater in Minneapolis, Improv Boston, Voodoo Comedy Playhouse in Denver, and Backline Improv Theater in Omaha. Thank you to Matt Besser at the UCB and James Grace at IO West for letting us do the show in Los Angeles, Miles Stroth for letting me teach a workshop in LA, and to Dustin at Feralaudio.com for recording the shows in LA and hosting Improv Nerd on his network. I could not have done any of this without all of you, and I am truly grateful.