The Art of Possibility

Rosamund Stone Zander, Benjamin Zander

The frames sour minds create define-and confine- what we perceive to be possible. Enlarge the box, or create another frame around the data, and problems vanish, while new opportunities appear.

When you bring to mind it’s all invented, you remember that it’s all a story you tell — not just some of it, but all of it. And remember, too, that every story you tell is founded on a network of hidden assumptions. If you learn to notice and distinguish these stories, you will be able to break through the barriers of any ‘box’ that contains unwanted conditions and create other conditions or narratives that support the life you envision for yourself and those around you.

If you participate joyfully with projects and goals and do not think your life depends on achieving the mark because then you will be better able to connect to people all around you. When you are oriented to abundance, you care less about being in control, and you take more risks. You may give away short-term profits in pursuit of a bigger dream; you may take a long view without being able to predict the outcome. In the measurement world, you set a goal and strive for it. In the universe of possibility, you set the context and let life unfold.

In the absence of a vision, we are each driven by our own agenda, finding people whose interests match ours, and inattentive to those with whom we appear to have little in common. We automatically judge our players, workers, and loved ones against our standard, inadvertently pulling the wind from their sails. But with our new practice of granting an ongoing A in all our relationships, we can align ourselves with others, because that A declares and sustains a life-enhancing partnership.

Giving yourself an A is not about boasting or raising your self-esteem. It has nothing to do with reciting your accomplishments. The freely granted A lifts you off the success/failure ladder and sprits you away from the world of measurement into the universe of possibility.It is a framework that allows you to see all of who you are and be all of who you are, without having to resist or deny any part of yourself.

Naming oneself and others as contribution produces a shift away from self-concern and engages us in a relationship with others that is an arena for making a difference. Rewards in the contribution game are of a deep and enduring kind, though less predictable than the trio of money, fame, and power that accrue to the winner in the success game. You never know what they will be, or from whence they will come.

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

“Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so god-damn seriously.’”

It is not about telling other people not to take themselves so seriously, unless your whole group, like the company above, has voluntarily adopted the practice. But you can tell this joke, or any other, in the midst of a tense situation as an invitation to camaraderie.(우정)

Humor and laughter are perhaps the best way we can ‘get over ourselves’. Humor can bring us together around our inescapable foibles, confusions, and miscommunications, and especially over the ways in which we find ourselvse acting entitled and demanding, or putting other people down, or flying at each other’s throats.

The only way to find happiness is to accept that the way things are is the way things are.

Being present to the way things are is not the same as accepting things as they are in the resigned way of the cow.It doesn’t mean you should work to achieve some “highter plane of exixtence” so you can “transcend negativity.” It simply means, being present without resistance: being present to what is happening and present to your reactions, no matter how intense.

The question is, can you be with the whole thing, the rain and your feelings about the rain? If you cannot, you might spend entire days bracing against the truth, complaining how unfair it is, how nobody warned you about the weather patterns, how the hotel ought to refund your money. However, there is another choice: letting the rain be, without fighting it. Merely exchanging an and for a but may do the trick.

Presence without resistance. “what do we want to do from here?”

Mistakes can be like ice. If we resist them, we may keep on slipping into a posture of defeat. If we include mistakes in our definition of performance, we are likely to glide through them and appreciate the beauty of the longer run.