Landmark Forum Leader Insights


“Yes”—it extends boundaries and establishes new playing fields

Landmark Insights; "Yes"

“Yes” extends boundaries, establishes new playing fields, moves possibility from ideas to actuality. Actress and improv artist Tina Fey points to the opportunity yes affords us when she says, “the first rule of improv is agree—agree with whatever your partner has created. The second rule is yes, and—agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with ‘I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,’ and you just say, ‘Yeah…’ we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, ‘I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,’ and you say, ‘Yes, it can’t be good for the wax figures,’ now we’re getting somewhere.”1

In our recurring dialogues, patterns of conversation, the habitual ways that we listen and speak, our first response often defaults around a “no” or a “but.” Toss in a few intricately constructed reasons justifying that response, and we find ourselves limiting the future in front of us.For anything creative to show up in life—not accidental, not manipulated, not figured out—it shows up in our stand for possibility, in the “yes.” Standing for possibility comes from nothing and creates a generative field; “yes and” extends that field and broadens the game. Nothing is the foundation for possibility—from nothing we are able to create with a freedom that’s not available when we create from something. In creating possibility, we get to know what’s available to us in being human.

1. Adapted from Tina Fey, Bossypants.

Zoe Masters, Landmark Forum Leader
Zoe Masters
Landmark Forum leader

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