On this, the last full week of 2004, I will be posting about the book The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. Next week, I will be talking about New Year´s Resolutions and will refer back to these posts. It´s a perfect time (anytime is perfect) to perform a little mental aerobics that can change our lives.
The book is a quick and moving read. The Zanders offer up 12 practices. Each practice is represented by a short memorable mantra with several stories and examples for illustration and clarification of the distinctions.
Here is the first paragraph of the Introduction:
"This is a how-to book of an unusual kind. Unlike the genre of how-to books that offer strategies to surmount the hurdles of a competitive world and move out ahead, the objective of this book is to provide the reader the means to lift off from that world of struggle and sail into a vast universe of possibility. Our premise is that many of the circumstances that seem to block us in our daily lives may only appear to do so based on the framework of assumptions we carry with us. Draw a different frame around the same set of circumstances and new pathways come into view. Find the right framework and extraordinary accomplishment becomes a everyday experience. Each chapter of this book presents a different facet of this approach and describes a new practice for bringing possibility to life."??
So that´s the book and it does not dilly dally around. It gets right to the work (The work your brain will be doing as you read it – it can´t be helped!).
Here are the first three practices with a few selected quotes from the book:
1. It´s all invented.
"Indeed, all of life comes to us in narrative form; it´s a story we tell."??
"We perceive only the sensations we are programmed to receive, and our awareness is further restricted by the fact that we recognize only those for which we have mental maps or categories."??
"Ask yourself this question:
What assumption am I making,
That I am not aware I´m making,
That gives me what I see?
And when you have an answer to that question, ask yourself this one:
What might I now invent,
That I haven´t yet invented,
That would give me other choices?"??
2. Stepping Into a Universe of Possibility
"In the realm of possibility, we gain our knowledge by invention."??
"Life appears as variety, pattern, and shimmering movement, inviting us in every moment we engage. The pie is enormous, and if you take a slice, the pie is whole again."?? (I love pie!)
"In fact, we are saying that, on the whole, you are more likely to extend your business and have a fulfilled life if you have the attitude that there are always new customers out there waiting to be enrolled rather than that money, customers, and ideas are in short supply."??
"When you are oriented to abundance, you care less about being in control, and you take more risks."??
“In a universe of possibility, you set the context and let life unfold."??
3. Giving an A
"An A can be given to anyone in any walk of life – to a waitress, to your employer, to your mother-in-law, to the members of the opposite team, and to the others driving in traffic. When you give an A, you find yourself speaking to people not from a place of measuring how they stack up against your standards, but from a place of respect that gives them room to realize themselves.”
"This A is not an expectation to live up to, but a possibility to live into."??
"The A is an invention that creates possibility for both mentor and student, manager and employee, or for any human interaction."??
"The lesson I learned is that the player who looks least engaged may be the most committed member of the group. A cynic, after all, is a passionate person who does not want to be disappointed again."??
Does that whet your appetite? It should! I love this book. The book is an inexpensive $14.00 and worth at least 10 times that much. So buy the book and give the rest to buy toys for kids. Life should be playful.
Here´s the link to buy the book at:
P.S. For those of you who regularly read my blog and might be wondering, "Do I love EVERYTHING I read? Why do I always say great things about books?"?? You´re right, and thanks for noticing. I am not a book critic. I will only take up my time and yours conversing about books I love and that I think can make a difference. When I hate a book, I stop reading it and don´t think about it again. Life is too short to think about these things, don´t you agree?