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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Questions And Possibilities

"I dwell in possibility...": Emily Dickinson

Creativity, leadership, self-help - however one categorizes "The Art Of Possibility" by Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander, it is worth any discerning reader's time. Each of the twelve practices outlined by the authors is approached via their complementary disciplines - psychology and art. I recall first being exposed to this potent mix in the early 90's when developing a leadership course and learning the Harvard Business Review endorsed poetry as a viable leadership tool.

"It's all invented." That simple but powerful sentence, the core of the first practice, helps set the tone for all that follows in "The Art of Possibility". The Zanders are strong believers in constructivism, i.e. "We don't see the world as it is, but as we are." As with nearly every worthwhile book I've read about leadership, a crucial part of the fabric are questions a thinking person must continually ask themselves. For example:

"What assumption am I making that I'm not aware I'm making that gives me what I see?" or...
"Who am I being that they are not shining?"

And though the crux of the latter question is aimed at a leader/subordinate relationship, I transplanted it to my role as a parent, sibling, friend. I've always tried to be the kind of person who helps others flourish. It's possible I could be a lot more effective doing so if I periodically asked myself this question. Why not try it with me and tell me how it goes?

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