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This is provocative, instructive, and uplifting.The ideas and practices in business are about creating and engaging new possibilities in life.The Art of Possibility is also a chronicle of a unique life partnership.All musicians learn that they must do more than survive defeats and rejections—they must transform them.I was having breakfast with a friend on one of my periodic visits to London to conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra.We exchanged smiles, and then I went back to my conversation and to my breakfast.The next day, I passed the young lady again in the breakfast room and stopped to speak with her.How are you today?Our premise is that 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 accomplishment becomes an everyday experience.Together, we work as a team.This is the essence of our enlivening, constantly moving partnership.Our joint conviction is that much, much more is possible than people ordinarily think.Historically, artists have been employed by leading institutions to bring emotional truth to established principles.In our new global society, no institution has the wide acceptance to create values and direction for the majority of people.The arts can break new ground here, bringing human consciousness to bear on these flows of product and capital, energizing our interpersonal connections, and opening new doors for invention and practice.Revolutionary shifts in the operational structures of our world seem to call for new definitions of who we are and what we are here for.It uses the metaphor of music, and relies on all the arts.Art is about rearranging us, creating surprising juxtapositions, emotional openings, startling presences, flight paths to the eternal.The long line portrays a world where the conflict between the individual and the collective that is intrinsic to our everyday reality resolves.An individual’s unique expression plays an integral and constructive part in setting a direction for the group—in fact, for all of humankind.The long line is the possibility of seeing deeply into what is best for all of us, seeing the next step.Each practice provides an opportunity for personal evolution that promises to enhance not only the reader’s life but also the organizations and relationships in which he or she participates.While circumstances may have changed since the start of these practices, their continued use tends to reconfirm the old beliefs.Our daily practices feel right and true to us, regardless of whether they have evolved to keep up with the pace of change.Business culture arises and perpetuates itself, perhaps long after its usefulness has passed.A businesses purpose is to initiate a new approach to current conditions, based on uncommon assumptions about the nature of the world.I had tried to play a passage, but I couldn’t make it work.Our practices will take a good deal more than three minutes to master.Everything you think and feel and see around you will argue against them.Practices take dedication, a leap of faith, and, yes, practicing to get them into your repertoire.Traveling overland in a rickety bus to reach the launch point, I paid close attention to the guide standing in the aisle, as she undertook our education about this popular sport.If you fall out of the boat what do you say to yourself?The world comes into our consciousness in the form of a map already drawn, a story already told, a hypothesis, a construction of our own making.Human eyes are selective though magnitudes more complex than those of the frog.We think we can see everything, until we remember that bees make out patterns written in ultraviolet light on flowers, and owls see in the dark.We perceive only the sensations we are programmed to receive, and our awareness is further restricted by the fact that we recognize only those for which we have mental maps or categories.We see a map of the world, not the world itself.What kind of map is the brain inclined to draw?The world appears to us sorted and packaged in this way, substantially enriched by the categories of culture we live in, by learning, and by the meanings we form out of the unique journey each of us travels.Our minds are designed to string events into story lines, whether or not there is any connection between the parts.In dreams, we regularly weave sensations gathered from disparate parts of our lives into narratives.In full wakefulness, we produce reasons for our actions that are rational, plausible, and guided by the logic of cause and effect, whether or not these reasons accurately portray any of the real motivational forces at work.Interpretations of the world vary from individual to individual and from group to group.Even science—which is often too simply described as an orderly process of accumulating knowledge based on previously acquired truths—even science relies on our capacity to adapt to new facts by radically shifting the theoretical constructions we previously accepted as truth.The Newtonian view is still as valid—only now we see it as a special case, valid within a particular set of conditions.Each new paradigm gives us the opportunity to see phenomena that were before as invisible to us as the colors of the sunset to the frog.The frames our minds create define—and confine—what we perceive to be 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.When you bring to mind it’s all invented, you remember that it’s all a story you tell—not just some of it, but all of it.Every story you tell is founded on a network of hidden assumptions.If you learn to notice and distinguish these stories, you will be able to break through the barriers of any box that contains unwanted conditions and create other conditions or narratives that support the life you envision for yourself and those around you.We do not mean that you can just make anything up and have it magically appear.We mean that you can shift the framework to one whose underlying assumptions allow for the conditions you desire.Let your thoughts and actions spring from the new framework and see what happens.What assumption am I making.In this story of the everyday, each of us strives for success, hoping to arrive at a better place than where we are.On our path to achieving a goal we inevitably encounter obstacles.All the manifestations of the world of measurement—the winning and losing, the gaining of acceptance and the threatened rejection, the raised hopes and the dash into despair—all are based on a single assumption that is hidden from our awareness.The assumption is that life is about staying alive and making it through—surviving in a world of scarcity and peril.Certain responses are better suited than others to an environment where survival is the issue, all of which are prevalent in the world of measurement.It feels safer to deal with reality as though it were fixed, as though people, ideas, and situations can be fully known and measured.We grow up in a world of measurement, and in this world, we get to know each other and things by measuring them, and by comparing and contrasting them.The dramatic action in this world of success and failure has to do with overcoming odds and prevailing, or being acknowledged and included.Competition is the vehicle to success, and metaphors based on competitive sports and war are applied to almost any situation.Conversations among friends chronicle personal trials and triumphs.In the realm of possibility, we gain our knowledge by invention.Life appears as variety, pattern, and shimmering movement, inviting us in every moment to engage.The relationship between people and environments is highlighted, not the people and things themselves.Some find admission to the realm of possibility at a religious gathering, some in meditation, some by listening to great music.Often people enter this state in the presence of natural beauty or at the sight of something of infinite magnitude, an expanse of ocean or a towering sky.You are more likely to be successful, overall, if you participate joyfully with projects and goals and do not think your life depends on achieving the mark because then you will be better able to connect to people all around you.In the universe of possibility, you set the context and let life unfold.There are regions of the world where resources are locally scarce, where people lack for their most fundamental needs.What is the practice that orients you to a universe of possibility?How are my thoughts and actions, in this moment, reflections of the measurement world?You look for thoughts and actions that reflect survival and scarcity, comparison and competition, attachment and anxiety.Most would recognize at core that the main purpose of grades is to compare one student against another.Most people are aware that competition puts a strain on friendships and too often consigns students to a solitary journey.If we were to apply this visionary concept to education, it would be pointless to compare one child to another.It is an enlivening way of approaching people that promises to transform you as well as them.Today the world knows me.That drive of energy and intense emotion that you saw twisting and dormant inside me, yet, alas, I could not show in performance or conversation, was freed tonight in a program of new music composed for me.I became a new person.I used to be so negative person for almost everything even before trying.I couldn’t accept my mistakes about a year ago, and after every mistake I blamed myself, but now, I enjoy making mistakes and I really learn from these mistakes.It is only when we make mistakes in performance that we can really begin to notice what needs attention.I actively train my students that when they make a mistake, they are to lift their arms in the air, smile, and say, How fascinating! I recommend that everyone try this.I love my weeds as much as my unblossomed roses.I can’t wait for tomorrow because I’m in love with today, hard work, and reward.I was notorious for leaving papers and assignments until the very last minute, and this one was no exception.Not every conductor is capable of moving beyond his own agenda and his own prejudices to see how he supports or undermines the players’ performance.In the absence of a vision, we are each driven by our own agenda, finding people whose interests match ours, and inattentive to those with whom we appear to have little in common.We automatically judge our players, workers, and loved ones against our standards, inadvertently pulling the wind from their sails.This has nothing to do with reciting your accomplishments.How often do we stand convinced of the truth of our early memories, forgetting that they are but assessments made by a child?How can we get them to change?

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