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The Art of Possibility - Benjamin Zander & Rosamund Zander

Book Summary:

Our perspectives shape your possibilities. To reconstruct how you perceive the world, you must first be willing to challenge your beliefs and assumptions, and to keep applying these 12 practices until the new ways of thinking and behaving become intuitive to you.

1. Realize that Everything is Invented

Everything we know about the world around us is actually filtered through our mental stories.You’ll find out in the book why human perceptions are so flawed/limited and how you can break out of your self-imposed frames/boxes to see new possibilities.

2. Move from Scarcity to Abundance

Shifting to an abundance-mindset and tapping into an infinite universe of possibilities.

3. Gift an A

We tend to grade people (literally or mentally) and use that grade to define their abilities/potential. When you give others an “A” as a gift (not because they’ve met a certain standard or expectation), it opens up a new world of possibilities for yourself and others to achieve what previously wouldn’t have been possible.

4. Be a Contribution

Most of us are constantly judging everything we do as a “success” or “failure”. This practice is about transforming your struggles into fulfilling experiences, by focusing on your contributions instead.

5. Lead from Any Position

This practice is about finding and unlocking the hidden passion and commitment that exists in every person, rather than assume that your approach/standards are the best

6. Lighten Up

We tend to look for external threats when in reality, it’s our own fears, views and positions that truly stand in the way of our rewarding experiences. Learn the difference between your “calculating self” vs your “central self”, and why problems/issues may magically melt away when you simply lighten up and learn to laugh at yourself and your situation.

7. See the Way Things Are

Have you ever felt resigned that there’s nothing you can do because “that’s just the way things are”? This practice is about becoming present to (i) what’s truly happening and (ii) your own reactions to them, so you get clear on your circumstances and what you can do to move toward your desired outcomes.

8. Flow with Passion

When we see the objects/people around us as separate entitles, it creates artificial barriers that don’t truly exist. Find out how you can give in fully to the creative energy waiting to be expressed through you!

9. Ignite the Spark

It’s untrue that you can only persuade others through manipulation or some form of exchange. This practice is about enrolling people by igniting their imagination and bringing out their passion.

10. Be the Chess Board

This practice is about shifting your perspective so you can see your own role in a particular situation. Stop trying to control all the chess pieces and the moves; be the board that accommodates all possible moves, so you see things more objectively and can take enlightened actions.

11. Create Possibility Frameworks

This practice is about breaking downward spirals, and instead generating options by (i) restructuring meaning, (ii) developing visions and (iii) creating environments that support possibilities.

12. Focus on WE

Most of the time, we think of “we” as “You + I”. The parties are seen as separate entities with irreconcilable differences. The WE practice is about (i) identifying what connects people, (ii) listening/looking out for what emerges and (iii) jointly defining what WE want and what’s the best thing to do for US.

For each of the 12 practices briefly outlined above, you can find stories, letters and reflections in the book that take you on a journey and bring the ideas to life. The authors’ goal is to equip you with alternative perspectives and approaches, so you can face any challenge in life, and design the stage upon which you’d express yourself and discover life’s unlimited possibilities. I highly recommend reading it.

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