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The Art Of Possibility

I was on a very crowded train coming from Times Square and noticed a young woman reading a book with a yellow cover called, The Art Of Possibility.

Usually people don’t talk to each other on the train, crowded New Yorkers trying to find whatever space to themselves that they can. But I broke the norm.

“How is it?” I asked her, pointing to the book with interest.

“It’s great!” She said. “I’m reading it for the second time.” As she saw my face light up, she said, “Here, why don’t you have it.”

“Oh no, I couldn’t possibly.”

“It’s OK. I have 2 copies.”

“How kind. How dear,” I said, having a suspicious feeling this generous gift from her would also be a greater gift to my life.

I happened to have one of my games in my bag, so I gave it to her in trade.

“I’m a teacher,” she said. “I think my students would LOVE to play this game.”

A small, loving, kind gesture with a stranger that could make a difference reminds me of what our country and world can be about. We can change the “norm” out of how we perceive our circumstances.

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 accomplishments becomes an everyday experience.

The book gives an illustration of this. A famous 9-dot puzzle. The puzzle asks to join all nine dots with four straight lines without taking the pen from paper.

dots1

Nearly everybody connects the dots with four straight lines within the square formed by the outer dots:

dots2

If however if you were to feel free to use the WHOLE sheet of paper, it’s likely a whole NEW possibility would open for you.

dots3

The frames our minds create define—and confine—what we perceive as possible. Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in life, only appears unsolvable inside a particular frame or point of view. Enlarge the box or create another frame around the data, and problems vanish, while new opportunities appear.

Every limited story you tell yourself about you or others, your life, your blocks, your frustrations or your unhappiness is founded on a restricted point of view.

If you can become aware of these stories, beliefs you carry, and conditionings you have allowed to lock you up—you can break out of the “box.” You can create new stories and conditions that support you to have the life you want.

In The Art Of Possibility, the authors Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander ask questions like:

What assumption am I making,
That I’m not aware I’m making,
That gives me what I see?

What might I now invent,
That I haven’t yet invented,
That would give me other choices?

We could ask:

What if we made choices that bring larger possibility?

We are the designer of our dreams, which can and will change the world if we take action to create them.

We get to creatively mold and transform them to be what we want.

We get to play, color, shape, sing loudly, dance, let go, dare with them.

Because the greatest art is a truly LOVED life.

Wishing you a life full of possibility!

 

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Lynn Newman