Cara's Reviews > The Art of Possibility

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander
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's review
Nov 19, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: inspiration, life
Read from November 06 to 12, 2011

** spoiler alert ** This book is a mystery. I don't remember wanting it or checking it out. I just found it under the passenger seat of my car when I was retrieving the groceries. But the library remembers loaning it to me, so I guess I must have borrowed it.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying it so far. I've read parts of it quoted in other things--it's the source of the story about giving all the kids As at the beginning of the school year, having each of them write a letter from their future self explaining what they did to deserve the A, and then watching them grow into that. Good stuff.


Loved this book! It made me want to hug the world, and get really good at an instrument so I could join an orchestra again.

It's all invented--life is a game. We play by the rules we know, but we can change them if we want to, and that changes everything.

Being a contribution--instead of focusing on yourself or thinking about what better circumstances you wish you had, declare yourself to be a contribution and throw yourself into making a difference.

Rule Number 6--"Don't take yourself so goddamn seriously."

The way things are--what's here now? What else is here now? What do we want to do from here? --be present without resistance.

pp. 102-103 Some music is meant to be played imperfectly. If a musician is too smooth or perfect, he or she won't impart the right emotions and tension into the piece.

"...[W]hen told by a violist that a difficult passage in the violin concerto was virtually unplayable, Stravinsky is supposed to have said: 'I don't want the sound of someone playing this passage, I want the sound of someone trying to play it!'"

Life is even messier. You don't have to be perfect.

Mistakes --> how fascinating!

p. 120 A cellist was struggling between playing technically vs. playing with passion. He interviewed for a job he wanted but blew it by playing technically. The author started consoling him, when he said this:

"No, no, no," he said. "You haven't heard the whole story. I was so peesed off, I said, 'Fock it, I'm going to Madrid to play the audition for the principal cellist in the orchestra there!'--and I won it, at twice the salary of the other job."
How? At the second audition, he played with passion.

Enrolling--generating a spark of possibility for others to share.
1. Imagine that people are an invitation for enrollment.
2. Stand ready to participate, willing to be moved and inspired.
3. Offer that which lights you up.
4. Have no doubt that others are eager to catch the spark.

Being the board--instead of thinking of yourself as a playing piece in the game of life, think of yourself as the game board. When something happens that you don't like, ask yourself, "How did that get on the board that I am?" --skips blame, ruminating, whining.


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