This week I began reading The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone and Benjamin Zander. If you ever felt we are all living in one giant rat race of a world where we are all constantly struggling to survive, constantly competing against one another, and constantly hung up on measuring our successes, you are not alone. In fact, there are countless others, including myself, that have the desire and capability in transporting to another vast universe of possibility.
Chapter 1 helped me understand that our minds are designed to string events into story lines, or in other words, construct. Just like the senses of every species are vastly different and fine-tuned to perceive information critical to their survival, we also can design our own existence with our own internal "map" for survival. However, before we can go about creating our own happiness, we need to realize that it's all invented. Opportunities are all around us, and will not come to us. We have to strategically and methodically work hard and build a bridge to those opportunities. To my initial surprise, I was able to complete the famous nine-dot puzzle provided under 15 seconds in my mind, using my own rules and POSSIBILITIES, such as using the whole sheet of paper. The best strategy in helping with the practice it's all invented is to eradicate common assumptions.
Chapter 2 helped me to truly and effectively contrast the 'Measurement World' vs. this so-called 'Universe of Possibility'. In simpler terms, the 'Measurement World' is a confined world where we are constantly jumping hurdles and obstacles to strive for success or a better place than where we are. The 'Universe of Possibility' is what we enter once we realize that our everyday reality is not confined to traditional frameworks within society. In a realm of possibility, we gain knowledge by invention and it consists of all worlds, aside from the 'Measurement World', such as "Infinite World', 'Generative World, and 'Abundant World'. Most of us can easily experience it by just forgetting ourselves and become part of all being. The best quote of this chapter to me was: "In the measurement world, you set a goal and strive for it. In the universe of possibility, you set the context and let life unfold." It helped me understand that in order to be successful, we shouldn't be hung up on achieving the mark, yet rather participating joyfully with our projects and goals to be better able to connect to people all around us.
Chapter 3 was my favorite chapter of this week's reading, because it was very inspiring and helped me understand the heart of mastery. The first example that was posed in the beginning of the chapter stated that if you simply give a student a B+, you are only matching them up against other students, yet if you constructively point out the student's errors, you are indicating something real about their performance. Not only that, issuing out a bland grade only creates competition that puts a strain on connecting with others and too often consigns students to a solitary journey! I loved the Michaelangelo quote provided: "Inside every block of stone or marble dwells a beautiful statue; one need only remove the excess material to reveal the work of art within." Metaphorically, this beautiful statue in education is each child's developing skills, creativity, mastery, and self-expression. THIS should be the practice of giving an A -- an enlivening approach that promises to transform you as well as them by supporting them to be all they dream of being. This is another fine way of entering the 'Universe of Possibility', rather than keeping your eye on the statue's roughness of the uncut stone in the 'Measurement World'. Another quote that opened my mind greatly was: "Standards can help us by defining the range of knowledge a student must master to be competent in his field. However, standards and constant alterations of grades defines the limits of what is possible between us." If everyone were to be granted an A, we can all be open to different perspectives than the instructor's, and everyone will really listen and engage. I think this is why we are all given 100 points for professionalism in the beginning of each class, in accordance with Full Sail University's GPS guidelines.
Chapter 4 covered what it takes to be a contribution. The opening story of the woman throwing stranded starfish's back into the sea happily and serenely, much to a bystander's concern and dismay that there are too many starfish and not enough time to get them all back into the ocean, was epic. There truly was no mention of a rescue mission or a measured goal, so why create mountains out of molehills? We all can be contributors in our own right. I grew up as the second child of a very accomplished brother who graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in computer science from a traditional 4-year university -- so I often felt I was living in his shadows, especially as my parents constantly praised his accomplishments and measured successes more than nurture my comparable potential. The game of contribution in chapter 4 is defined as: "waking up each day and basking in the notion that you are a gift to others". This is why I always treat others impartially and comfort them with the knowledge that they all have something unique to bring to the table. I truly admire the instructor of the music performance class who had his class take a moment to write down how they have "contributed" over the past week! What made this so awesome was how the contributions did not need to be about just about the course content, yet anything that comes to mind. This, in turn, produces a shift away from self-concern and engages us in a relationship with others that is an arena for making a difference collectively. We all have complementary perspectives and a voice that needs to be heard. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we all can have a one-way trip to the "Universe of Possibility".