The Art of Possibility

As part of  my commitment to read more, I’ve been blazing through some great publications this year. My latest is an audio book entitled “The Art of Possibility” by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. Anyone familiar with this one? It was a bit wordy but has been worth the listen!

“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.”

The Art of Possibility

The Art of Possibility

Whether you’ve just started a business, or run a household…whether you’re part of a team or work independently… it’s highly likely that you’re operating with a set of assumptions and beliefs (a framework) about how the world works. That framework governs your thought processes and decisions. Unfortunately, for many of us, our framework is designed by default to protect us. It keeps us “safe  from being wrong, protects our ego and protect us from failure. So it comes as no surprise that our framework also hinders us from realizing our true potential, overcoming obstacles and learning to accept difficulty.

Within “The Art of Possibility”, Zander explores this concept and provides solutions in the form of 12 practices. Overall, the general theme of the practices centers around remaining open, and shifting how we interpret our experiences. Ultimately by applying the practices, we are better able to live a life of abundance, gratitude and simply realize the world of possibility which we may have subconsciously blocked ourselves from.

Below is a brief overview of each concept. This is not the time for skimming folks! This kind information helps us to grasp a hold of our dreams. Use it!

1. It’s All Invented

When you’re looking at a problem or living an experience, the assumptions you make about it are all drafted within your mind. Firstly, the author proposes we first accept that everything we understand to be the truth really is a story that we make up entirely. Subsequently, the Zanders recommend we enlarge our “box”, enlarge our range of thought.

2. Stepping into a Universe of Possibility

Throw out the belief that there are limitations! The universe is infinitely abundant and there is a world or opportunity awaiting you. Zanders explains that if we have an attitude focused on abundance, instead of a mentality of scarcity, we’ll be more likely to find new business ventures and encounter new opportunities.

4. Giving an A

This is my favourite of the 12 practices! “Giving An A” symbolizes giving yourself a Grade A before you even get started. As a conductor, Zander found that many students wouldn’t take risks due to their fear of failure. To combat this, he gave each student an A Grade at the beginning of their course. To retain this grade, each student only had to write a letter explaining what they had done to maintain their A, and how they had grown by the end of the course. As a result, students felt encouraged to try new things and widen their range of thinking.

“The A is not an expectation to live up to, but a universe of possibilities to live into.”

The Art of Possibility

5. Being a Contribution

In this chapter, you ‘re encouraged to wake up every morning and accept that you are a GIFT to others. And indeed you are! This practice involves two cool self actualisations:

  • Declare to yourself that you are a contribution
  • Catapult yourself into life knowing that you are someone who makes a difference (though you msy not fully know how, when, where or why).

6. Leading from Any Chair

When you think of the word “leader” does your own name come to mind? It better! The Zander’s explain that the act of leadership is not limited to people in leadership positions. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what your title is or where you sit. You have the ability to inspire and lead others from anywhere – even without a title or position.

7. Rule Number 6

Next, in this chapter, the author retells a joke in which two politicians converse about Rule Number 6. One politician continuously hears the reference “Rule Number 6″. So he asks the other politician, “Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?”… The other responds, “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so goddamn seriously’ “… So, Rule Number 6 is just a reminder for us to lighten up! When we lighten up, we release ourselves from limitations allowing ourselves to think freely.

8. The Way Things Are

This practice involves accepting what is, as it is… and making the best of the situation. Subsequently, when you accept that things are the way they are, instead of complaining and resisting, you’re in a position to make the best of the situation. Have lemons? Then make that lemonade sistah!

9. Giving way to passion

Today’s societies have made many of us conformers, implementing limitations in the form of “structure”. However, Zander’s explains that we must work to transcend these barriers and access/revive our passions.

9. Lighting a Spark

Next, within chapter 9, the author encourages us to inspire others. By Spreading our contagious desire to achieve we may ignite a world of possibility in the lives of others.

10. Being the Board

No, the author doesn’t want you to lay in plank position! This practice centers around the ability to find within yourself the source of any problem. In this sense, Zander’s asks that we review any assumptions we have made in our experiences and take responsibility for those assumptions.  Whilst this practice can be misconstrued  as a form of blame it is actually a form of constructive reflection of how you got to where you presently are.

11. Creating Frameworks for Possibility

The second last chapter involves creating frameworks that cultivate possibility. Instead of approaching situations with a dualistic mindframe of good/bad, yes/no, right/wrong etc., we reframe the issue so that we are open to other options. It requires us to let go of the stories we burned into memory, the behaviours born out of fear, and to instead believe that an acceptable solutions, satisfactory to everyone, is available. It’s awlays there!

12. Telling the “WE” Story.

Lastly, The Art of Possibility closes with the concept of “WE”. Zander’s encourages us to move away from the story of “you and me” and instead embrace “us and them,” and then move on to “we”. Zanders notes that when we move our thinking from a place of division, conflict and hostility to a place of enthusiasm, cooperation and togetherness… then oooooooh chile, we can move mountains!!

If you’re ready to open your mind to new ways of thinking and to an abundance of possibilities that make all your dreams come true, this transformational book is a must read.

Good Read’s Descriptions

Presenting twelve breakthrough practices for bringing creativity into all human endeavors, The Art of Possibility is the dynamic product of an extraordinary partnership. The Art of Possibility combines Benjamin Zander’s experience as conductor and his talent as a teacher/communicator together with psychotherapist Rosamund Stone Zander’s genius for personal and professional fulfillment.

The authors’ harmoniously interwoven perspectives explain the powerful role that the notion of possibility can play in every aspect of life. Through uplifting stories and personal anecdotes, the Zanders invite us to become passionate communicators, leaders, and performers whose lives radiate possibility into the world.

If you’d like to purchase this book or others on my reading list, you can do so via my Amazon marketplace.