Jake Trent

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional & Personal Life

Ben Zander is one of the most interesting and intriguing people that I’ve discovered recently. He has endless positivity and energy. He is poetic. He sees great poissibility in others and in life. He commands a set of thoughts about leadership and relationships that are very thought-provoking and inspiring. This book is probably the best representation of his collective thoughts that I’ve worked through. There’s some other great content from him on the Internet.

It’s All Invented

Our brains tell us a story of what we experience in life. We already have a colored view. Instead of seeing things with our natural brains and eyes, we can re-invent our experiences. If we desire something else, we can give that option to ourselves. Why not? If everything else is invented, why not invent what we want?

A few good prompts:

  • 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?

Giving an A

The invented structures of society, school, work, and sport are setup around competition. This creates winners and losers. This lets some go up and some go down in a downward spiral. You can “give an A” to anyone or anything. You can give an A to a student, a leader, a friend, a driver on the road, a waiter at a restaurant.

In giving the A, you give up your expections. Someone won’t live up to or not live up to your expectation any more. You’ve created a possibility of the A. They can live into it. You already see it that way. You focus on your relationship. You help and assist the person, the “A” student, as they are, with great their great innate potential.

The conductor is the only person in an orchestra that doesn’t make a sound. He derives his power from helping the players feel powerful. If you’re doing a good job, your players eyes will be shining. If they’re not shining, you can ask yourself the question:

  • Who am I being that my players eyes are not shining?

You can ask this question relative to your relationship with your children.

Being the Board

Related to inventing our possibilities, the analogy of being the game board instead of a game piece allows us greater flexibility in defining what we experience and how we’ll act. We aren’t game pieces who do things and have things happen to us. If we are the board, there aren’t limits to how we can reframe situations. We are the game. We make rules we want to get to desired results.

In total, the book was really inspiring in realizing that there are wonderful possibilities in reach:

  • Finding happiness in daily life
  • Caring for and feeding relationships with people
  • Not feeling cornered in bad situations

I feel like I need to re-read the book. There is much that’s masterful and life-changing here. Thus, it’ll probably take me a lifetime to master it. Highly recommended.