In his book “Flow: The Psychology of Happiness” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyiwrites about a state of being he calls Flow.
This is a state of being where you are completely engulfed in the action you are doing.
Such as when you play a role in a written and staged theater performance, you must be completely engulfed in the person you are portraying, or the illusion does not seem credible and truthful.
Whereas when you improvise, you must ride on the flow, just as a surfer.
The surfer reads the strength and direction of the waves, and then uses the information he has received by reading the waves to choose which learned techniques he needs to move forward in his athletic narrative.
In the same way that the surfer reads the waves, as a theatre- improviser, one must read the waves of actions, words, and gestures. Everything that has happened, and then has the skills to choose the technique or game needed to forward the narrative at that moment.
My experience shows me that I prevent myself from accessing my theatre instinct when I permit myself to be engulfed in the flow that is described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.