The art of possibility and how it changed my mind

The art of possibility

I have not read a more inviting opening to a book in my last 39 years on this earth. The books opens with a fantastic exchange between the author and a waiter that’s overheard by a twelve year old girl. “I have a perfect life but I don’t have a knife”. I don’t want to give it away but it’s something I’ve thought about printing out and framing

I was listening to Tim Ferriss interview Seth Godin on his podcast when Seth recommended three books to listen to. I could not find an audio version of “The art of possibility” so I bought the paperback.

It’s a very inspiring book. I am not a fan of books on manifesting your destiny or using language to prime your to certain behaviors but I believe a lot of these books and ideas destroy lives.

This book is very different and it made me change my mind about a lot of things. Here are my takeaways:

  1. Your mind is screwed up
  2. Your senses look for cues that help you confirm your biases
  3. You don’t know that you are doing this so you end up seeing a world the way you want to see it. Broken and unfair or full of possibilities.
  4. Believing in a universe of possibility is a great way to live your life
  5. Giving your team and your family an A even before they’ve done anything good is fantastically uplifting. For everyone.
  6. Reject downward spiral thinking violently. List facts, talk about “where to next” than “how everything is doomed”
  7. “No” means you have failed to enroll someone into the possibility you see
  8. The vision for your team or company should not be about “competition” it should be about possibility and should include a view that fundamentally everyone can agree with.
  9. Vision is much more powerful than goals and objectives since it can guide daily action
  10. Talk about “what do we want to have happen for us” instead of “What I want to have happen”

I wish I could get an hour with Ben just to be coached. What a gift that would be.

I changed my mind about the power of language to frame your present. I thought that was all woo woo. Not anymore.

I changed my mind about “give and take”. Sometimes just giving is joyous too. All exchanges don’t have to be fair to bring joy to the participants.

Takeaways #1-#3 are also validated by many other books including “All marketers tell stories” by Seth Godin. We are only looking for what’s we want to see. Like the bald men only sees hair when he goes to a party. Or how a fat person only sees thin people at a party. Our senses play a game that we are unaware of. This can set up a disastrous cycle of mistrust in a business setting since you look for signs of deception or political orchestration in meetings instead of shared purpose and positive engagement.

Time to draft the vision for my dad’s business and my team and for the Delhi Shopping tour…

–Anubhav

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