I just recently had my first improvologues class at school, and my teacher took the class on a field trip to the Lincoln Center at night and gave us a three-part assignment. When we got there, she split the class into six groups of three people. Each group was given ten minutes to go find some strangers and eavesdrop on their conversation without letting them find us out. And in those ten minutes we were supposed to pick up as much of the conversation as we could and store it away for part two. For part two, each group now had five minutes to put together a scene based, however loosely, on the conversation and also title the scene. And for part three, we all performed our scenes at Lincoln Center for the rest of the class. In the end, we put on six scenes of roughly three minutes long. That means that in 15 minutes we got inspired, created, and performed almost a twenty minute show at the Lincoln Center like it was nothing.
You're probably wondering why I just wasted your time by telling you that seemingly pointless story. But the point I'm trying to make with that little anecdote is that in this technologically advanced generation we tend to spend more time plugged into our phones or our laptops or what have you than we do plugged into other people. We're all a little guilty of this. I mean, how often do you find yourself walking down the street or sitting at the park or something with your headphones in, listening to music, and tuning out the rest of the world? I don't mean that doing that is a bad thing, in fact it can be entirely necessary at times. But that is not to say that we should be doing it all the time.
Here's a little challenge for you: Go for a walk or go hang out in a place with a lot of people for at least a half an hour every single day and listen. Just listen. And notice. Listen to what other people are talking about; notice how they're talking about what they're talking about. Notice the sounds and the people around you, and just drink it all in. You can learn new things you never knew before, you can get a new perspective on a certain topic by listening to other people's opinions, you can get inspired. Maybe you could overhear someone giving some really good advice, or maybe you could hear someone tell someone else something that you really need to hear in that moment.
There are infinite possibilities to what you could learn from this simple listening exercise. And I'm pretty confident in that it will change your life. So turn off you electronics. Get out there. And listen. See what new things come your way.