Slaying the Minotaur

What is the inside of your mind like? Mine is like the Minotaur’s labyrinth (NERD ALERT!) – lots of twists, turns, and sudden dead ends. When I met my wife 13 years ago I was awake all night, asleep all day, and often ate popcorn as a meal. I was having a blast getting nowhere! What a mess. That was a young, self-employed me left to my own devices. I was improvising for audiences nightly but hadn’t learned to apply those skills to other areas of my life. 

I have since come to understand that, while I loathe it, I need routine to harness my creative energy. My inclination is toward chaos. I love that about myself. But, boundaries in the form of routine are the Theseus that keeps my Minotaur on task. 


     1. A course of action followed regularly; a standard procedure.

     2. A set of normal procedures, often performed mechanically.

 I like to go with the flow & play it by ear. Creativity! Excitement! Dissonance! I NEED to sit down and make sure the bills get paid each month. What I’ve done to reconcile my Nature with my Need, is turn Routine into Ritual.


A set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. The purposes of rituals are varied; with religious obligations or ideals, satisfaction of spiritual or emotional needs of the practitioners, strengthening of social bonds — or, sometimes, just for the pleasure of the ritual itself.

Ritual is something I can get into! Improvisation is filled with it. From the primal throbbing of a rhythmic Harold opening to the silly and seemingly frivolous games we play to warm up before a performance. Constructs that, performed without heart & soul, are arbitrary and meaningless. But insert your own meaning and – BOOM! – instant celebration. This same mindset can get you through life’s boring, but necessary, parts.

Got a list of mundane chores every morning? Give them some meaning. Any meaning! You can coast along waiting for life’s meaningful and exciting moments. Or you can live with purpose by making it fun and important.  It seems weird to turn laundry day into a celebration, but if it needs to get done anyway – give your morning some meaning and your chores some purpose. Turn your Routine into Ritual!

– Jay

Comment below with the most tedious thing in your life right now. Besides “everything,” smartass.

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About Jay Olson

Since 1994 I've had the opportunity to make audiences laugh all over the United States and abroad. I provide business solutions to a variety of industries, including; healthcare, telecommunications, government, higher education, and more. I keep my performance skills sharp with Baby Wants Candy - The Improvised Musical With Full Band.

Posted on September 2, 2011, in business improvisation, Creativity, family, improv, Inspiration, Leadership, Lifestyle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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