Tag: Benjamin Zander

Roz Zander and Ben Zander on The Art of Possibility, Part 12

In the book, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander show us the 12 things we can do to go on a journey of possibility, rather than living a life full of hurdles and constraints of our own making.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

The Twelfth Practice: Telling the WE Story

In this chapter, Roz and Ben discuss using the WE story-telling approach to create possibilities. They offer the following observations and recommendations for us to think about:

Often, history is a record of conflict between an US and a THEM. What approach can we invent that will take us from an entrenched posture of hostility to one of enthusiasm and deep regard? We should consider WE as a new entity that can personify the “togetherness” of us and others.

The WE story defines a human being in a specific way. It says we are our central selves seeking to contribute, naturally engaged, and forever in dance with each other. The WE story points to a relationship rather than to individuals. It aims to communicate patterns, gestures, and movement rather than discrete objects and identities.

By telling the WE story, we become a conduit for this inclusive entity and always inquire into what is best for US. The practice of telling the WE story points to a kind of leadership based on the courage to speak on behalf of all people for the long line of human possibility.

The steps to the WE practice are as follows:

  1. Tell the WE story – the story of the unseen threads that connect us all, the story of possibility.
  2. Listen and look for the emerging entity.
  3. Ask the questions:
    1. “What do WE want to have happen here?”
    1. “What’s the best for US?” – all of each of us, and all of us.
    1. “What’s OUR next step?”

While visions go in and out of favor, the WE story remains. The transformation from the “I” to the WE enable us to dissolve the barriers that divide us intentionally, so we may reshape our surrounding and create possibility. The practice of WE draws on all the other practices.

Roz Zander and Ben Zander on The Art of Possibility, Part 11

In the book, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander show us the 12 things we can do to go on a journey of possibility, rather than living a life full of hurdles and constraints of our own making.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

The Eleventh Practice: Creating Frameworks for Possibility

In this chapter, Roz and Ben discuss how we can invent and sustain frameworks that bring forth possibilities. They offer the following observations and recommendations for us to think about:

Roz and Ben suggest that there are three steps to the practice of framing possibility are:

  1. Make a new distinction in the realm of possibility: a powerful substitute for the current framework generating the downward spiral.
  2. Enter the territory. Embody the new distinction so that it becomes the framework for life around you.
  3. Keep distinguishing what is “on the track” and what is “off the track” of your framework for possibility.

When we distinguish our framework’s on-track vs. off-track notions, we focus on maintaining the framework’s clarity. Being “off-track” often tells us that the possibility we had defined is absent, forgotten, or has never been clearly articulated.

A vision is a powerful framework to take an organization’s operations from the downward spiral into the arena of possibility. However, a vision is not a mission statement, as they are not interchangeable.

Roz and Ben believe that a vision becomes a framework for possibility when it meets specific criteria.

  • A vision articulates a possibility.
  • A vision fulfills a desire fundamental to humankind, a passion with which any human being can resonate. Yet, it is an idea to which no one could logically respond, “What about me?”
  • A vision does not refer to morality or ethics; it is not about the right way of doing things. It cannot imply that anyone is wrong.
  • A vision is a picture of all time, using no numbers, measurements, or comparatives. It contains no specifics of time, place, audience, or product.
  • A vision is free-standing – it points neither to a rosier future nor a past in need of improvement. Instead, it gives over its bounty now.
  • A vision is a long line of possibilities radiating outward. It invites infinite expression, development, and proliferation within its definitional framework.
  • Speaking a vision transforms the speaker. For that moment, the “real world” becomes a universe of possibility and the barriers to realizing the vision disappear.

The practice of framing possibility calls upon us to use our minds to think about the contexts that govern us. It trains us to be alert to the danger that unseen definitions and assumptions may covertly chain us to a downward spiral.

We can define new frameworks for the possibility of bringing out the part of us that is most contributory, unencumbered, and most open to participation.

Roz Zander and Ben Zander on The Art of Possibility, Part 10

In the book, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander show us the 12 things we can do to go on a journey of possibility, rather than living a life full of hurdles and constraints of our own making.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

The Tenth Practice: Being the Board

In this chapter, Roz and Ben discuss the concept of being the board on which the whole game is being played. They offer the following observations and recommendations for us to think about:

The concept of “Being the Board” allows us to move the problematic aspect of any circumstances from the outside world to inside the boundaries of ourselves. By redefining the board and boundaries, we choose to take accountability for our circumstances. Taking responsibility helps us discover new possibilities and strengthens us at no one’s expense.

There are two parts to mastering this practice. The first part is to declare: “I am the framework for everything that happens in my life.” The second part deals with unwanted circumstances, and we need to ask ourselves, “How did this get on the board that I am?”

Roz and Ben further phrase the first part of the practice as this. “If I cannot be present without resistance to the way things are and act effectively, if I feel myself to be wronged, a loser, or a victim, I will tell myself that someone assumption I have made is the source of my difficulty.”

By taking accountability as the framework of our circumstances, this approach opens the possibility of a graceful journey. Grace comes from owning the risks we take in a world, by and large, immune to our control. Gracing ourselves with responsibility for everything that happens in our life can leave our spirit whole and allow us free to choose from possibilities.

When unwanted things happen to us, the second part of the practice allows us to dig deeper into our preconceived notions and assumptions up to that point. By asking the question, “How did this get on the board that I am?” we will bring to see the obvious and more subtle contributions of our calculating self, our prior experience, or earlier decisions that landed us where we are.

In the world of measurement, we live in the illusion that we have only ourselves to rely on. That illusion amplifies our need for control. When unwanted things happen, and we lose that control, we look for ways or things or people to blame.

Instead of gaining control over every aspect of our lives, the practice of being the board is about making a difference. We are no longer concerned that the other people examine her assumptions; instead, we see that the “stumbling blocks” that stand in our way are part of us. Only we can remove those “stumbling blocks.”

Furthermore, the practice launches us on a journey of transformation and self-development that calls for courage and compassion. We relinquish our claim for “fairness” or “justice” in favor of the riches that possibility can offer. The rewards from the journey are self-respect, deep connection with others, and a straight route to making a difference.

Roz Zander and Ben Zander on The Art of Possibility, Part 9

In the book, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander show us the 12 things we can do to go on a journey of possibility, rather than living a life full of hurdles and constraints of our own making.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

The Ninth Practice: Lighting a Spark

In this chapter, Roz and Ben discuss the concept of Enrollment. They offer the following observations and recommendations for us to think about:

Enrollment 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.”

We need sparks to light a fire that can propel us toward a universe of possibilities. Fortunately, our universe is alive with sparks. We have an infinite capacity to light a spark of possibility at our fingertips. Our passion, instead of fear, is the igniting force. Abundance, instead of scarcity, is the context.

The practice of Enrollment is about giving ourselves as a possibility to others and being ready, in turn, to catch their sparks. Roz and Ben offer the following steps to the practice are:

  1. Imagine that people are an invitation for Enrollment.
  2. Stand ready to participate, willing to be moved and inspired.
  3. Offer that which lights us up.
  4. Have no doubt that others are eager to catch the spark.

Roz and Ben offer another way to think about Enrollment.

“The life force for humankind is, perhaps, nothing more or less than the passionate energy to connect, express, and communicate. Enrollment is that life force at work, lighting sparks from person to person, scattering light in all directions. Sometimes the sparks ignite a blaze; sometimes they pass quietly, magically, almost imperceptibly, from one to another to another.”

Roz Zander and Ben Zander on The Art of Possibility, Part 8

In the book, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander show us the 12 things we can do to go on a journey of possibility, rather than living a life full of hurdles and constraints of our own making.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

The Eighth Practice: Giving Way to Passion

In this chapter, Roz and Ben discuss what it means to give way to passion. They offer the following observations and recommendations for us to think about:

In the universe of possibility, vibrancy and energy surround us. Yet, while the universe is sparking with generative power, how do we tap into the source? Where can we find an electric socket for vitality?

One way to find the energy is to recognize that vital, expressive energy flows everywhere. Such energy is the medium for the existence of life. The choice of participating in that vitality lies within ourselves.

Very often, our consciousness tells us a different story. The world comes to us with numerous boundaries and constraints. Culture has taught us to strictly operate within limits, stay in our lanes, and not compare apples and oranges. Yet our minds and bodies are perfectly capable of suspending an edge once we know how and where the lines are drawn.

Roz and Ben suggested that we take the following two steps to enable the practice of giving way to passion.

  1. Notice where we are holding back and let go. Release those barriers of self that keep us separated and in control. Let the vital energy of passion surge through us and connect us to all beyond.
  2. Participate wholly in the universe of possibility. We should allow ourselves to be a channel to shape the stream of passion into a new expression for the world.

When we are looking for an electric socket for possibility, one way is to let go of the edges of ourselves. Then, when we actively participate by finding our tempo and leaning our bodies to the music, we might be able to gain access to the energy of transformation.