Yes, Yes AND, Yes again! What does “Yes, AND…” accomplish?

by Dr. Rick Kirschner on February 17, 2015

Aden takes a bowNote to readers:  Today’s post is the second this year from my daughter Aden Kirschner, an improvisational team building expert here at The Art Of Change,  and I think you’re going to enjoy it.   Here’s ADEN!

A while back a very good friend and colleague posed this question about saying ‘YES’ in Improv, and how that applies off stage and in business.

“In the improv world, any choice is generally a good choice — as long as we commit to it, we can build a scene together. But in the corporate world (in my experience), we are usually working together to solve a specific problem or satisfy a particular need. So in a brainstorming session, for example, it doesn’t always serve to “yes, and” the first idea suggested as we would in an improv show. We want to build on an idea that will satisfy the need we’re targeting, and this seems to require discriminatory thinking, which seems to be opposite of ‘yes, and.’ How do you reconcile/incorporate this into the improv toolbox we are offering?”

Before I answer the question, here’s just a little more background. In the world of improv we operate under a general understanding, and one of the fundamental concepts we utilize is the thing we label ‘Yes! And…’ which generally stands for accepting other peoples ideas and building on them as an automatic move, instead of turning down their ideas, or asking questions about their ideas. It can be done figuratively, or by literally employing the words. For example:

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When Training Is Fun, Is It More Valuable?

by Dr. Rick Kirschner on January 28, 2015

Note to readers:  Today’s post is from my daughter Aden Kirschner, who works with me at The Art Of Change,  and it’s a great read!  I’ll go ahead an answer the headline question.  YES!  

AdenTeachesWhen I first began ongoing training with one of my bigger and better clients they explained to me that I should remove the word ‘game’ from my vocabulary when working with their employee base.  When I asked what the reason was, their reply was “these folks work hard. As an employee, I shudder to think that I spent valuable time on games when I could have been working on my budgets, presentations, forecasts etc…”

Well as you can imagine, their simple feedback was an incredible eye-opener for me.  Here, a client had hired me for my skills and training specific to the world of improv theater and comedy, and yet they wanted me to eliminate any hint of game, play, or fun from the experience when those things are an integral part of what I do!  This left me sitting with the question, ‘what’s so terrible about fun?’

As my creative partner Shana and I discussed what we should do, she suggested we answer a different question than what I had on my mind, and instead address ‘what’s valuable about fun?’ and in answering that question (and having our clients answer that question for themselves) we were able to not only keep our vocabulary, but build trust in the process of dynamic, and yes playful, training while building up our relationship with this and future clients!

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StethoscopeHaters gonna hate.

A few days ago, Oregon Public Broadcasting did a show and posted an article about Naturopathic doctors working to change Oregon state law to stop insurers from denying access under the Affordable Care Act.  And no sooner did the article go up and the haters swarmed like mosquitos on a damp jungle night.

One of the main charges leveled at natural medicine by comment trolls on the internet is that natural medicine is somehow not based in science, and conventional medicine is.  Therefore, natural medicine is phony and dangerous, and conventional medicine is safe and true.  The persuasion tactic is dismissal.    By speaking about natural medicine in the pejorative, using the most dismissive language possible, they seek to undermine support for it by making its supporters out to be idiots and victims.   But in reality,  this idea that conventional medicine is science based, and naturopathic medicine is pseudo science, is an unsubstantiated conceit and nothing more. And the idea that a dependable scientific purity is somehow driving our for-profit conventional system is both laughable and sad all at once.

Maybe you’ve seen it.  The comment trolls on any favorable press in support of natural medicine say things like  “Let’s see the consensus of scientific studies that supports each practice taught at your schools!” And I find myself compelled to respond:  You go first. Let’s see the consensus of scientific studies that supports each practice at conventional schools!

Fact is, a good deal of what these ’science-based medicine’ trolls are calling ‘science-based’ boils down to cherry picked studies from drug companies that support their desired monetary outcomes, rubber stamped by agencies staffed through industry’s revolving door. MDs have no monopoly on science. Science is agnostic about all of this, as it is a methodology for separating fact from fiction, not a way to prove yourself right.

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Putting Sick Care Propaganda Into Perspective

by Dr. Rick Kirschner on January 16, 2015

StethoscopeI occasionally write about, speak about, and post about the shortcomings of the conventional sick care system, and the benefits of natural medicine.  And because I’m a strong advocate for something you probably hear very little about, you may have formed  the wrong impression of me. I don’t think poorly of all conventional medicine, really I don’t. I think there’s a time and a place, just not all the time and every place. I have friends and associates who are competent MDs and DOs and have very high integrity, and while they use drugs and surgery in their practices, they seek to save lives and help people to the best of their ability. I grew up with excellent pediatric care from well intended conventional doctors, too. My uncle Jack in Cincinnati had an excellent reputation as a physician when I was growing up and my family relied on his expertise for many years.  

But as an insider to natural medicine (I’m a licensed naturopathic physician in the state of Oregon), and as one who has studied some of the history of medicine, I can’t undo what I know about the more sinister forces driving the industry whose ambitions have to do with power and profit rather than human health. Nor can I overlook decades of unjustified attacks, backed by a complicit media, on the practice of natural medicine.   And I think its important to put the dominant system and its claims to ‘science’ into perspective, because our whole society has been propagandized about its seeming infallibility for so long that good and smart people still say things like ‘chemo is needed in most cases’ or ‘I have to take these meds,’ when such may not be the case. And because I am values driven, I have an interest in exposing relentlessly promoted deception and lies regarding chemical interventions in human health.  I have the same interest regarding agriculture and the food supply, because how we grow food and what we eat has real world consequences on human health.  

My desired outcome in healthcare is to see a truly integrated system that focuses on best practices and what actually works, and gives people access to all their choices and options instead of only the profitable ones or the ones driven by marketing and hype. I don’t much care what that system is called, but I do know that the paradigm shift has to be away from illness as the centerpiece (sick care) and towards health as the center piece of a smart healthcare system.  

I’m certain that there is a lot that goes on in the conventional system that is downright criminal. (See this link: And yes, I would love to see the criminals serve time, but here in America we have different standards of  justice for different populations based on a number of variables that have nothing to do with crimes committed (otherwise, most of Congress would be in jail!)   So I’m not holding my breath for a fair justice system any more than I’m holding my breath until we have a healthcare system. Just doing my part to see something, say something. Somehow, I have a deeply embedded idea in my psyche, that all that’s necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to say and do nothing about it (I think my parents installed this program in me!)

I’m always interested in hearing your thoughts on the topics that I post about.   Please do leave a comment below!
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Have a happier 2015 with these 3 suggestions…

December 31, 2014

Second of three suggestions: Childlike nature! A child has an open mind, is curious, is eager to learn, to discover. A child has imagination, finds joy in play, and is unbound by convention and habit. To keep this alive, remember that not knowing has value, that wonder has value, that play for the sake of play has value, and that time will move you along quickly enough without you having to help it along.

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Unfriendly Skies on 12.14.14 Please share and retweet

December 14, 2014

a rude and abusive flight attendant on a morning United Airlines flight out of Houston on December 14, 2014. Though this incident didn’t involve me and has no real impact on my life (Did I mention, I’m on vacation?) I think UA’s executives should know about this kind of bad behavior on the part of their flight attendants.

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To Dream Of A Better, Not Bitter, World

October 14, 2014

if humanity ever faces it’s future instead of backing into it, I choose to believe there is nothing we can’t accomplish, no problem we can’t solve, and no possibility we can’t move towards achieving. Like Bucky used to say, there is no energy shortage. There’s a shortage of will.

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Becoming a Professional Presenter

September 21, 2014

Cheat sheet on how to become a professional speaking expert!

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