Quick Thinking – The #1 Mistake People Make When Trying to Think on Their Feet

Do you ever feel like you get stuck when you are put on the spot and need to think on your feet? This video will show you the #1 mistake I see people make when trying to think quickly. (Transcription below)


Have you ever been put on the spot and suddenly you couldn’t eh… think of something to say or do. Well if so, then keep watching cause in this video, I’m gonna share with you what I find to be the number one problem people have when it comes to thinking quickly.

We all find ourselves in those situations when we’re put on the spot. We need to think of something quickly but then we freeze. Nothing comes to us. We’re like “ahhh I’m not creative, I can’t think of anything.”

Now this can be a problem because when you’re able to think on your feet, you can get huge benefits. It makes you seem more confident, it makes you seem more intelligent and of course, it allows you to solve problems much more quickly and effectively. What I’m gonna share with you here is how you can use a technique from improve comedy to help your quick thinking skills. It’s not just something you’re born with. It’s a skill that you can practice and learn.

See, I start with a game called 185. It’s an improv comedy game where it’s like a stock joke. For example, you’re get a suggest from the audience like “bananas.”

Now you say. “a hundred and eighty five bananas walk into a bar. The bartender says sorry we don’t serve bananas and then punchline. So for example the bartender says we don’t serve bananas. Bananas say oh come on but we’ve got so much “a peel” (appeal).”

Quick thinking is often much more about quick deciding than about quickly generating ideas. See what’ll happen in that game 185 is we’ll get a suggestion from the audience like doctors. And then the players will think of an idea around doctors like operation. Like what comes in mind when you think of doctors is the word operation. And then they’ll think, “how can I make a pun or a joke out of operation.” But nothing comes to them.

Now here’s the problem, they will then continue to struggle with the word operation. “What funny thing can I think of? What funny thing can I think of?” Whereas what someone who plays this game well will do if they don’t immediately, very quickly think of something around the word “operation,” they will immediately move on to the next idea. What else do I think of doctors? “Uhh, nurses! Oh we were just gonna nurse our drinks anyways. Right? Or what else? Umm injections, shots! Oh we just wanted to get a shot.“

So the discarding of the idea is actually what allows you to think quickly. So next time, you’re struggling to think on your feet and respond very fast, remember it might not be that you can’t think of ideas quickly but rather that you’re holding on to an idea.

So what I want you to do right now is try this game yourself. Let me throw a suggestion out to you. “A hundred and eighty five lawyers.” So a hundred and eighty five lawyers walk into a bar. Bartender says sorry, we don’t serve lawyers and the lawyers say – punchline.

So pause the video and try to think of some punchlines right now. Go! Okay so you probably didn’t pause but think of those punchlines. So what I really care about here is not how funny your answer is but whether or not you are able to follow the process of letting go. What’s the first thing that came to your mind when you said lawyers? Umm case! Okay could you have think of a pun that came with that? No? Okay let it go. What’s the next thing? Uhh…attorney. Can you think of something? And so on and so on.

It’s a skill. The more you do this, the better you get at it. So keep practicing this game. Come up with different occupations, different suggestions. Not to be funny but to practice the process of quickly letting ideas go to make room for the next one. So the next time you’re put on the spot, you can think quickly on your feet.

A hundred and eighty five teachers walk into a bar and the bartender says sorry we don’t serve teachers. And the teachers say we’re just gonna race ourselves out of here. A hundred and eighty five teachers walk into a bar and the bartender says sorry we don’t serve teachers. And the teachers walk out saying pfff man this place has no class anyways. And the teachers say umm we’ll never come back here because of the principle (principal) of it. Ahahah principle of it. Get it? And the teachers say shahh this place doesn’t make a grade anyways. And the teachers say oh no we don’t wanna drink, we were just looking for our friend Jim. And he says that well you’re clearly drunk. I can see it in your pupils. Aha!

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