On this, the last full week of 2004, I am posting about the book The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.
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.
Today I will continue discussion of the 12 Practices offered in the Art of Possibility. Here are the next three practices with a my thoughts and a few juicy quotes from the book:
7. The Way Things Are
In this chapter, the Zanders are writing about the advantage of acknowledging what´s real, even if it is undesirable, and being with it in a way that you can move beyond it. We´ve all been peeved or irritated by something or someone. Many of us dig our heels in and cling to our frustrations. It´s just wrong! It shouldn´t be! Why does it have to be this way? Of course, intellectually, we all know these reactions get in the way of progress. My brilliant friend, Timo, is a great example of this practice in action. He gets so worked up about stuff! Sometimes his reactions are great, because he brings our attention to something we were missing. Other times he gets frustrated about stuff that just is. I call this stuff mucky muck. Anyway, the cool thing about Timo is that when he sees that this is what´s happening, he is pretty good at letting the blocking reactions/emotions melt (at least a bit) and move on.
I like this one quote as it really says it all for this practice. They are sharing an example of someone who goes to Florida for vacation and it rains the entire time they are there. Instead of the "this vacation sucks and I am miserable"?? response, they suggest:
"We are in Florida for our winter vacation, AND it´s raining. This isn´t what we planned; it´s very disappointing. If we wanted rain at this time of year, we would have visited our friends in Seattle. AND this is the way things are.
Presence without resistance: you are now free to turn to the question, "What do we want to do from here?"?? Then all sorts of pathways begin to appear; the possibility of resting; having the best food, sex, reading, or conversation; going to the movies or walking in the rain; or catching the next flight to Tucson."??
At least in Florida, walking in the rain won´t lead to hypothermia like here in Seattle! 🙂
One more great quote: "When we dislike a situation, we tend to put all our attention on how things should be rather than how they are….. When our attention is primarily directed to how wrong things are, we lose our power to act effectively."??
8. Giving Way to Passion
The title of this practice is pretty intuitive. But how comfortable are we – really – with passion at work? Can you share your passions with a colleague? Have you gotten excited (in your own way, introverted or extroverted) about stuff recently?
Say it with me….Passion….Passion…Passion…I Love this….I Love that…Ooey Gooey work passion. Now get you mind out of the gutter – you know what I mean. Does your work get your blood and brain pumping? (Not all the time, but some of the time?)
Check out what the Zanders say:
"The practice of this chapter, giving way to passion, has two steps:
1. The first step is to notice where you are holding back, and let go. Release those barriers of self that keep you separate and in control, and let the vital energy of passion surge through you, connecting you to all beyond.
2. The second step is to participate wholly. Allow yourself to be a channel to shape the stream of passion into a new expression for the world."??
I think I should re-read this passage EVERY MORNING. Golly, I want to stop holding back so much, don´t you? People who know me might think I do a pretty good job of giving way to passion, but I really do not. Get the book, if just for this chapter. It´s the perfect time of year to enliven our way of working.
9. Lighting a Spark
By lighting a spark, the Zanders are describing the practice of enrollment. Enrollment is a special and powerful way of influencing others. Here´s how they define it:
"Enrolling is not about forcing, cajoling, tricking, bargaining, pressuring, or guilt-tripping someone into doing something your way. Enrollment is the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share."??
"But our universe is alive with sparks. We have at our fingertips an infinite capacity to light a spark of possibility. Passion, rather than fear, is the igniting force. Abundance, rather than scarcity, is the context."??
Wow, cool stuff. I have been talking about enrollment for years, but I like the tweaks the Zanders put on enrollment as a practice.
Does that pique your interest? It should! The book is an inexpensive $14.00 and worth at least a buck a page. So buy the book and get a special gift for your favorite mentor with the change. Life’s lessons are precious gifts.