Today, I wanted to continue on with yesterday’s post and share a few more of the concepts from The Art of Possibility.
Practice Number Two – Stepping into a Universe of Possibilities
I love this practice. Once we realize it’s all invented, what’s the next step?
Well the next step is to take the leap and step into a Universe of Possibilities. Right now, most of us live in a “world of measurements.” We have various measurements in place to show us, at any moment, just how on-track our lives actually are.
We use measurements like success and money to determine if we’re actually on-track.
The drawback of the “world of measurements,” is that we’re more or less living in an invented universe of survival.
We believe that “things” are finite in the measurement world. We need more money, more time, more of this, more of that…
When we step into the Universe of Possibilities we remove all the obstacles and constraints of the measurement world.
So here’s an example: In the measurement world we might say, “I want to get a good job and make a lot of money.” Of course, with that stated goal, we also believe that we’ll need to overcome the various obstacles in our way that limit our finite resources, such as lack of time, skills, and money.
More or less, we’re limited by the invented obstacles of the measurement world.
In the Universe of Possibilities, we replace living in survival mode with living in possibility mode. There are no obstacles. Only abundance and possibility. You set the context and let life unfold without any finite assumptions in mind.
Practice Number Three – Giving an A
Where was this book back when I was in school?
Ben Zander saw that his music student’s creativity and expression of their art was being held back by the anxiety of getting a decent grade. Students followed the rules so they could achieve a decent grade rather than taking chances or risks. The anxiety of doing something that went against the grain wasn’t worth it to them. Especially when living in a measurement world.
Zander’s solution was to give every student an “A” the first day of class with only one stipulation. They each had to write a letter and postdate it to the end of the semester. The letter had to explain what they had learned over the year and during the semester. The students were setting their own possibilities, and the next move was to simply let life unfold.
When the pressure to receive a letter on a piece of paper was off the table, something beautiful happened. The students began to take risks and go beyond their assumed level of success.
The goal of giving yourself an “A” is an important step into the Universe of Possibilities. Its purpose is about giving your life the direction of possibilities it needs to move towards the end goal (without the pressure to attain some sort of superficial measurement).
Practice Number Four – Being a Contribution
In the book, the authors tell the story of a lady walking on a beach that was littered with thousands of stranded starfish that had been swept in with the tide. One by one, the lady picked up the starfish and threw them back into the ocean.
A man walked by and told the lady that what she was doing was hopeless. He told her that what she was doing didn’t matter.
The lady replied that it may might not matter to all of the starfish, but it certainly mattered to the few she could help.
The practice of being a contributor is about understanding that you are a gift to others. Throwing yourself into this practice opens a wide range of possibilities.
Here’s how you do it.
- Declare yourself a contributor.
- Throw yourself into life as someone who makes a difference, even though you may not understand how or why.