Positation

I used the word ‘positation’ a while back and the other person in the conversation had never heard of it. I had an inkling that it either came from a theater experience or brainstorming techniques, because it means always encouraging ideas and suggestions with positive reaction–a behavior I’m absolutely *terrible* at, unless trying very, very hard, and even then I’m lousy. I believe my theater instructors got it from William Ball’s use as explained in his book and in these quotes from an article about Bill in The San Francisco Chronicle.

“Bill had this word, ‘positation.’ He would say, ‘Never say no.’ Of course, this was good for him because he didn’t like people saying no to him. But it was also a wonderful way to work on a play, to be open to any suggestion. Then, through doing what you might not want to do, wouldn’t have thought to do, you have another thought, and his mind would feed on whatever idea you’d come up with, and you’d end up exactly where you really wanted to be. It’s sort of a lesson for life, too, though of course there are times one should say no.” — Kitty Winn

“The point is that if you entertain everybody’s idea, eventually you get to the right one. But unless you say yes all along the way, you might not get to that great idea. … Bill had some genius in him. He was a very nutty person. He was a man who did not play by the rules. … But he had a power to lead and he was willing to stand in front of everybody and, if he had to make a fool of himself, he’d make a fool of himself in order to get done what he wanted to do.” — Annette Bening, former ACT student and company member

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