Do you ever catch yourself in a conversation or train of thought that could best be described as a “downward spiral?
It’s so easy to mindlessly go that way. But what if we could make a state of mind called radiating possibility a habit?
Today on EWC, we introduce you to an unlikely source for coaching about how to choose your point of view.
The world-renowned classical music conductor, Ben Zander gives one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking talks I have ever come across. Here’s something I think puts his life’s work into a nutshell:
Since 1979, Ben Zander has been the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic. He is known around the world as both a guest conductor and a speaker on leadership — and he’s been known to do both in a single performance. He uses music to help people open their minds and create joyful harmonies that bring out the best in themselves and their colleagues. 1
You might assume Ben Zander is talking about music, but behind it all, he’s really urging us to consider the way we choose what’s possible in almost any moment.
This could be one of the most important and entertaining talks you’ve ever seen.
If you are not a classical music fan, no worries; look for the analogies. We’ve studied this video in our business with our entire staff. And I’ve used the insights when working with my teenagers.
There are so many parallels to be found in Ben Zander’s message.
This entertaining piece can transform us all. Enjoy!
Do you know about the TED stage? TED.com is one of the most interesting corners of the web and EWC features the best of their talks a couple times each month. If I do say so myself, EWC and TED are the only places I have found where smart people, curious and hopeful, can always come away transformed. Check out our list of Must-See TED Talks!
But when it comes to this talk, what do you think?
Did you let yourself get absorbed by the analogies, or miss them because you were telling yourself you don’t like or understand classical music.
I have to admit, I shut down the first time I watched this when Ben started into that lengthy music lesson. But then I watched it a second time with a more open mind and I was transfixed. I could remember moments in my family and business life when people were playing the game of life exactly as Ben was instructing us to notice.
I knew people who were just mechanically going through the motions and those hitting their notes all the way to the back of the room.
Here are some of the concepts that made Dr. Chuck and I smile, and we’ve used them faithfully ever since:
The Shoe Salesman
Which guy are you most often; “Situation hopeless, they don’t wear shoes,” or the other salesman, “Glorious opportunity! They don’t have shoes yet!”
We can slowly train ourselves to recognize the downward spiral earlier and earlier, and eventually find radiating possibility in almost every moment.
Giving People an “A” Ahead of Time
I had to listen to that part a few times before I could actually try it. And now, I adore playing with this concept all the time: holding doors open with a warm smile, letting people ahead of me in traffic while beaming warmly at them. I compliment strangers on the little things I notice about them. I constantly let people know about it when they’ve done or said something that impressed me.
We have been using that concept with regularity in our office ever since our team studied this video. We try to celebrate mistakes as opportunities now. Really! It can be done!
We spent an entire year transforming our business into a “One-Buttock Dental Office”, when it comes to passion for excellence and connecting with our patients.
It’s been all Radiating Possibility ever since.
Try watching the video a second time and look for the insights you can take right into your day today! If nothing else, notice when your mind is doing the downward spiral, and find one bright spot in the situation.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes by
We may not be able to be happy all the time, but in every moment we can find something to be grateful for. – David Steindl-Rast
That comes from a wonderful TED Talk that I can recommend for you next. Take a look at our article called Want to be Happy?
Radiating Possibility on the Web…
How often is our conversation a reflection of attitude rather than a true picture of the situation?
That’s why I founded EverWideningCircles.com. I was beginning to buy into the downward spiral of the negative 24-hour news cycle, even though I knew that was not an accurate picture of the whole situation on our planet.
Since first seeing Ben Zander’s video, I’ve written over 600 articles for EWC about the most extraordinary innovators, wonders of nature, and remarkable places on this planet, and I now know that the downward spiral is a conversation we do not have to join.
If you’d like a place to visit on the web where you can come away both smarter and happier, we publish one article each day – on any subject under the sun – to prove it’s still amazing world.
Oh, and you may not know that Ben Zander has written a very good book about this Radiating Possibility versus the Downward Spiral. It’s called The Art of Possibility. I keep my copy – dog-eared and underlined – right beside my bed with some of my very favorite books!
Meanwhile, stay curious, open and hopeful!
~ Dr. Lynda
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