I recently finished reading the book On the Art of Possibility – Transforming Professional an Personal Life – by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.
The authors best summarize what this book is about in the opening paragraph: “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 a 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 an everyday experience. Each chapter of this book presents a different facet of this approach and describes a new practice for bringing possibility to life.”
As described above, this book is filled with rich, uplifting stories that help us look at our lives, both personal and professional under new paradigms. These paradigms will help unlock more potential as well as improve well being both physical and mental.
An inspiring and enjoyable read!
Below are excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:
1- “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.”
2- “We keep looking so hard in life for the “specific message,” and yet we are blinded to the fact that the message is all around us, and within us all the time. We just have to stop demanding that it be on our terms and conditions, and instead open ourselves to the possibility that what we seek may be in front of us all the time.”
3- “Now, in light of my “discovery”, I began to shift my attention to how effective I was at enabling the musicians to play each phrase as beautifully as they were capable. This concern had rarely surfaced when my position appeared to give me absolute power and I had cast the players as mere instruments of my will.”
4- “Humor can bring us together around our inescapable foibles, confusions, and miscommunications, and especially over the ways in which we find ourselves acting entitled and demanding, or putting people down, or flying into each other’s throats.”
5- “When one person peels away layers of opinion, entitlement, pride, and inflated self-description, others instantly feel the connection.”
6- “The practice in this chapter is an antidote both to the hopeless resignation of the cow and to the spluttering resistance of the duck. It is to be present to the way things are, including our feelings about the way things are. This practice can help us clarifu the next step that will take us in the direction we say we want to go.”
7- “There is viability, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine ow good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open” – Martha Graham
8- “Gracing yourself with responsibility for everything that happens in your life leaves your spirit whole, and leaves you free to choose again.”
9- “Love is neither about self-determination nor sacrifice. It is a context in which two people build the life they want together. Strength and independence are qualities that can enhance a relationship.”
10- “In the realm of possibility, there is no division between ideas and action, mind and body, dream and reality. Leaders who become their vision often seem uncommonly brave to the rest of us. Whether from the middle of the action, or from the sidelines, they are a conduit for carrying the vision forward.”
11- “…A vision releases us from the weight and confusion of local problems and concerns, and allows us to see the long clear line.”