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Praise for Happy Accidents

“If you are looking to unleash human potential in your organization, there is no better place to start than with the power in two words, ‘Yes, And.’ If you need proof of concept, this book and the entrepreneurial vision and lessons of the authors will provide a pathway.”

—O. HOMER EREKSON, John V. Roach Dean and Professor of Managerial Economics and Strategy, Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University

“Working with Four Day Weekend changed my life. They instilled confidence in me and helped me believe in my own ability to impact the world in a positive way ’ by making people laugh and feel good.”

—CRISTELA ALONZO, Actor, Writer, Comedian and Producer

“This book is a must-read for people who yearn for a new way of working, thinking, doing and creating a better world.”

—ERIK WAHL, New York Times bestselling author of Unthink

“Read this book and heed its words ’ the ‘Yes, And’ philosophy can work wonders by opening minds and inspiring your family, your company, and your community to make the seemingly impossible happen.”

—BETSY PRICE, Mayor of Fort Worth, Texas

Happy Accidents sets the table for creating a positive attitude and a better way of seeing the world, which impacts our lives in everything we do. From school to work to home, this is a great read about an optimistic approach to life that benefits all of us.”

—MIKE MONCRIEF, Businessman, Philanthropist, former Texas State Senator and former Mayor of Fort Worth, Texas


The Transformative Power of
“YES, AND” at Work and in Life

David Ahearn,
Frank Ford,
and David Wilk

Founders of Four Day Weekend Comedy
Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at The Neeley School of
Business at Texas Christian University

Wiley Logo

To our family, our friends, and our fans:
This happened because of you.
You inspired us. You gave us a chance to shine.
We couldn’t dream of what we’ve accomplished without you.


And to you, our readers:
Listen to each other. Learn from each other. Laugh together.
It’s the best way to improve the world.


May “Yes, and” transform your lives
as much as it did ours.


Over the years, through various political, civic, and business engagements, we’ve had the privilege of getting to know some of the most talented, dynamic and, in rare cases, truly exceptional people anywhere. Four Day Weekend’s founding members David Ahearn, Frank Ford, and David Wilk are among them. We are honored to call them our friends, and proud to call them Fort Worth’s Greatest Ambassadors.

Our shared “Happy Accident” started some 20 years ago, mostly on a whim. It was early on in their entrepreneurial and artistic journey, and the authors, along with another founding member, Troy Grant, made the auspicious decision to launch an improvisation and sketch comedy theater company in, of all places, our beloved city of Fort Worth, Texas. It was a leap of faith with clear risks and an uncertain landing. It took real courage, one borne of a belief in possibility and the power of the words “Yes, and” to change their lives for the better.

To give you context, our city had never witnessed their kind of comedy before, and for their part, they’d never witnessed a city as wonderful as ours. And so formed the beginnings of a beautiful bond that has blossomed from a risky experiment into a 20-years and counting, massively successful “Yes, and” experience. It’s one that has touched the lives of thousands of people, and we can proudly say it has forever changed our city and our cultural landscape for the better. It has brought our people closer and made us feel a deep sense of pride about our home.

Four Day Weekend’s philosophy of “Yes, and” offers an enchanting way of drawing hearts and minds together. It helps us recognize that life and work are best played as a team sport. It leads us toward placing value on a shared purpose, shared vision, and a shared experience for what can be a more optimistic, enriching, and supportive life experience for all.

To us, and our broader Fort Worth family, it means one other thing: taking care of each other, no matter what. It’s true in times that are good and in those that are challenging. It applies to all of us’friends, neighbors, strangers and especially those in need. At times we are called upon to lift up our fellow citizens, and do our part. That’s the Fort Worth way, it’s a message of belief in an empowered community, that none of us as individuals are as good as all of us as a city, and a family working in harmony together. It’s not always perfect, but it works well. And it honors those with whom we get to experience this preciously short gift of life.

Four Day Weekend reflects a spirit of goodwill and of brotherhood, of making something from nothing, celebrating the good that we can realize together, and the joy we can discover in life. The authors cast their egos aside in favor of working together to achieve more together. They learned how to be successful and how to give back. They are truly a team, and their success is a great reflection of it.

When we were asked to contribute to this book and Four Day’s unique version of success, we felt honored to lend them our support. And now, we are thrilled to lend you our support and invite you into their world of “Happy Accidents.”

Enjoy the leap. Support your community. The landing will take care of itself.

Mike and Rosie Moncrief

Mike is a successful businessman and philanthropist who served as Mayor of Fort Worth from 2003 until his retirement in 2011. Rosie has been a community leader for more than 30 years and hasn’t yet retired from the “front lines” of Fort Worth.

How to Reset Your Mind-set From “No, But” to “Yes, And”

Imagine there’s a world where every idea you ever have is not only accepted but so fully embraced that it literally transforms the community where you live, love, work, and play. Sound Pollyannaish? Even crazy? It’s not.

If you’re like most people, your BS detector might be buzzing right about now. So we ask you to simply silence your Skeptical Sam or Negative Nancy alarm and cast aside your doubts for this reading.

Those of us who discovered the power of “Yes, and” have found a world of possibility that exists, a real place where positive outcomes rule – and a genuine way of living a more joyful and fulfilling life is the norm. You might be looking for this place and this way of life. If so, welcome home.

“Yes, and” is a way of manifesting the very best that life has to offer us. By saying “Yes, and,” we invite into our lives the people and the situations and the opportunities that conspire to make all our dreams come true.

This is the world of improvisation (our world), the world where “Yes, and” and Happy Accidents – positive disruptions to the routine pattern of everyday life – are the norm. This is the world where our comedy group, Four Day Weekend, has resided and experienced many Happy Accidents for more than 20 years. Our success is a testament to the power of improvisational philosophy, where we as individuals commit and contribute to helping each other, thereby making ourselves as individuals and as a group look better each day.

If you don’t believe us, consider this surprise. Our “little” comedy show was originally slated for a limited six-week run back in early 1997. So what happened? A Happy Accident. We became the longest-running show in the Southwest. To date, we’ve performed more than 5,700 shows to more than a million people around the globe. We’ve been awarded the Key to the City of Fort Worth, Texas, and were named Small Business of the Year. We’ve delivered a keynote address to the United States Congress and performed for two US Presidents, for hundreds of Fortune 500 companies, for the armed forces abroad – and we’ve worked with students, teachers, police officers, plumbers, professors, bankers, and entrepreneurs, just to name a few.

Today, in addition to running our comedy theater, a student training center, and corporate workshops, we’re also Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at the esteemed Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University. All of this was made possible with the help of two little words: “Yes, and.” These words truly changed the shape of our lives.

Image described by caption.

Figure 0.1 Current Four Day Weekend cast. From left to right: Anthony Bowling, Ray Sharp, Oliver Tull, Josh Roberts, Andrew Hamer, Troy Grant, Frank Ford, David Wilk, David Ahearn

Photo Credit: Melanie Grizzel

Most of the time we’ve been told no – or no, but. We’ve been told that dreams simply aren’t possible. Or that dreams are the dominion of those more fortunate than us. Yet, we in Four Day Weekend have come to discover that dreams are the domain of all of us. Anything we desire is possible if we only recalibrate our thinking from a world of “No, but” to a world of “Yes, and.” The only requirement for manifesting the life you desire is hidden in two words so powerful they simply transform lives: “YES, AND!”

Each week when we perform our live shows, we stand in front of 200 or more fans at our theater and as many as 5,000 people at corporate events. Without a script, we improvise a comedy show using nothing but the power of “Yes, and” and the belief that, if we work together, what we come up with as a group is far superior to what we would or could achieve individually.

Improvisation is a shared tool that’s readily available to anyone who desires to have a more harmonious life, both professionally and personally. We choose to transform our negative conditioning, skepticism, and resistance into the power of positive cooperation, creative collaboration, and harmony with those around us. We say “Yes, and” and we “Yes, and” in our lives every day.

When we do this, we align ourselves with the infinite possibilities to create Happy Accidents. Happy Accidents are those amazing serendipitous events that occur, the things that you never planned that turned out to be far more miraculous than you ever could have envisioned. Throughout our lives, the great majority of us try to control every aspect of our existence, and most of the time it comes at the expense of relying on a universe that aligns us with our greatest purpose.

How does this happen? It happens in a way that most of us are never willing to even consider. It happens by letting go and releasing control, thereby allowing things to align in their most natural state. Saying yes to ideas and opportunities sends a signal to the universe or God or fate that we are willing to accept all the opportunities that life has to offer. Saying no rewards you with perceived control yet impedes progress. Saying yes rewards you with progress yet forces you to give up control.

All creation starts from a foundation of one person saying yes to an idea and then finding someone to collaborate with so that the initial idea can be made manifest in reality. “Yes” is the genesis that gives birth to creation, whereas “and” is the catalyst that ignites the idea into physical form. If it feels esoteric, it is. But the more you practice “Yes, and,” the more concrete and real it becomes.

There’s magic to this world that’s fueled by the intention of our thoughts, and it works quite simply. Whatever we think becomes a reality in our world. If we’re positive and work in cooperation with others, the world begins working for us. If we’re negative and uncooperative with others, the world reflects this idea back to us and we think the world is working against us.

Make no mistake, it’s our thoughts that paint our reality. Life is a mirror that reflects our consciousness back to us, and the art of improvisation teaches us how to work in alignment with the ultimate possibilities that life offers us. By saying “Yes, and” to the world, we open up an infinite world of possibilities. The words no and but tend to limit our possibilities.

We resist because we think our resistance protects us, but in reality it inhibits our expansion. When we let go, we allow the magical opportunities that are available to all of us to come alive and manifest into reality. And when we really let go, we find we are awarded with a “Return on Improvisation,” as we like to call it. This is our ROI. When we say yes to life and its opportunities, we find that the ROI usually far exceeds any of the fear that may have caused us to hold back in the first place. This is when we discover that our need to control prohibits us from succeeding far more than we could ever have imagined.

Throughout this book, we’ll explore “Yes, and,” Happy Accidents, and our version of ROI, Return on Improvisation, and how these relate to your life and work, and your life’s work with those people around you – family, friends, and coworkers – in a meaningful way.

We’ll also explore what seems to be a long forgotten, easily overlooked, or simply inconvenient idea of giving back and offering a helping hand to those most in need. When we lend those less fortunate than us a helping hand, we offer a pathway to freedom to everyone. We like to call this the “I, We, All” theory. “I” take responsibility for my life, my choices, and my general state of being – and because I take care of myself, I become better for “We” (the company, organization, or family); and when “We” become better, “All” (the whole world) benefit.

How does this happen? I treat every person I encounter with complete integrity and love, and then my organization thrives and then the world thrives. It starts with you. You are the change we all seek. By altering your mind-set and leading a “Yes, and” life, you literally can change the world.

We know many people will not believe that this is possible until they’ve seen definitive proof that this theory works, so at the onset of this book we challenge you with a very simple way to get yourself started in discovering the power of “Yes, and.”

Throughout this book, we’ll offer you resets of your mind-set to think of life in terms of “Yes, and” instead of “No, but.” By adopting these new ways of thinking, you’ll see definitive positive changes in your life. The exercises in this book will lead you step-by-step to change in the way you think of life from “No, but” to “Yes, and.”

People have used improvisational techniques and have fundamentally transformed their lives. And the most beautiful part of living a life of “Yes, and” is that anyone can do it. There’s no secret handshake or elite membership criteria. You do not have to be a genius, privileged, wealthy, or successful to make the transformation. The only thing you have to do is begin the process of saying two magical words: “YES, AND!”

You’re Already an Improviser

We improvise every single day of our lives. With each thought, with each word, and with each action we’re improvising. Contrary to popular belief, we really don’t know where our life is taking us, we’re simply living moment by moment, and those individual moments add up to the “scenes” of our life. In improvisation we always say, “We don’t know where we are going; we only know where we have been” and “Yes, and” leads us down the path of prosperity and harmony.

In the world of improvisation, we have discovered that when we say yes our improvisational scenes move forward into the beauty of the unknown and usually return something amazing that we never expected. This is true of life as well. We say yes and the majesty of this world becomes ours.

The only true requirement in life is that we must take the very first step down the path of prosperity and opportunity before we are offered any proof it is working. By saying yes to this book today, you are taking that very first step. You have sent a signal to the world that you are open to infinite possibilities. Our only other job is to recognize when we are rewarded for saying yes. This affirms our belief in possibility and soon, once affirmed, we notice more and more amazing synchronicities that manifest into our daily lives.

We invite you to set aside your doubts for the rest of this book, to join us on this improvisational journey, and to discover the magic of Happy Accidents and the value they add to your life, your work, your relationships. The only requirement is saying the two most beautiful three-letter words in the English language: “Yes, and.”

Four Day Weekend
May 2017

P.S. One other thing. We want you to know that when we, the authors of this book, use the word “we” throughout this book, we are always referring to the collective “we,” in the sense of people, companies, and community, the human race in general. There are a lot of us out there in the world, and “we” is about everybody. Because we’re all in this thing called life together.