Short Book Summaries

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life | Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Ben Zander

When we change our perspective and tell different stories than the ones we’ve been telling ourselves, we open up possibility for not only ourselves but others. We first recognize the stories we are responsible for telling. We participate joyfully in telling our new stories. By telling a new, joyful stories, we allow our light to shine. This is difficult. Our greatest fear is that we will shine too bright. Sharing our bright, shining light and removing the barriers to tenderness within us gives others permission to shine their lights. We become the contribution and discover what we have right now is a gift. And we are a gift to others. Our spirit is fulfilled. There is no “better.” No other game to play. We share our inclusive vision, remove the barriers amongst ourselves, and engage with others moment-to-moment and become artists of possibility.

Highlighted passages from the book (for reference)

[perhaps] transformation happens less by arguing cogently for something new than by generating active, ongoing practices that shift a culture’s experience of the basis for reality.

A simple way to practice it’s all invented is to ask yourself this question: What assumption am I making, That I’m not aware I’m making, That gives me what I see? And when you have an answer to that question, ask yourself this one: What might I now invent, That I haven’t yet invented, That would give me other choices?

You are more likely to be successful, overall, 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. On the whole, resources are likely to come to you in greater abundance when you are generous and inclusive and engage people in your passion for life.

remove the excess material to reveal the work of art

He lightly mocks her: “There are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see, for miles up the beach. What difference can saving a few of them possibly make?” Smiling, she bends down and once more tosses a starfish out over the water, saying serenely, “It certainly makes a difference to this one.”

Gracing yourself with responsibility for everything that happens in your life leaves your spirit whole, and leaves you free to choose again.

I settled on a game called I am a contribution. Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side. It is not arrived at by comparison.

In the game of contribution you wake up each day and bask in the notion that you are a gift to others.

Stravinsky is supposed to have said: “I don’t want the sound of someone playing this passage, I want the sound of someone trying to play it!”

In the pursuit of objectives under a vision, playing is relevant to the manifestation of the possibility, winning is not.

I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big successes. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of human pride. —WILLIAM JAMES

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *