Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wk2 Comment #1 - Catherine Brooks

I would have to agree with you that the book is not your typical personal development book.  It's definitely not something I would normally find myself reading, but I'm making sure to keep an open mind throughout, and take away what I can from it. 
Something that really got my attention was the idea that you bring up of reality being based on our perception of it, and how we jump to conclusions about things.  That's something I want to try be more aware of moving forward, both in the classroom and in general.
P.S.  Bonus points for finding a way to reference Kenny Loggins.

Original Post:
If you plan on reading, “The Art of Possibility,” by Ros and Ben Zander be prepared for a life-altering paradigm shift. At least I’m hoping I can apply this new point of view to affect a positive change in my life! The authors believe that every single person has the ability or mission to tap into their creativity and expose or project the profound gift of their greatness unto the world. Based on a combination of sound theory and and experiential mentoring this book seems to be much more than a typical personal development book.

Chapter 1 is about how we experience our world through our senses. They go into detail explaining how our brain interprets the barrage of sensory input. Like an efficient machine our brain synthesizes all this information, jumps to conclusions and reapplies the stimulus into thoughts and actions. The tricky part is that in order to save energy, our brain has the tendency to skip steps and jump to conclusions. It’s not necessarily a bad thing because the conclusions are based on past perceptions of reality; we just need to be aware of what’s happening so we can stop and re-think through a situation instead of just reacting all the time. Because of this natural tendency, we begin to “view” our situations  from “inside the box” that we really create ourselves. Therefore we need to take a moment to pause, notice the assumptions we’re making, and make a conscious effort to view the situation through an unfiltered lens. It’s where the saying, “to think outside the box” comes from. As we can do this, our creative brain will show us new opportunities and options for response.

Once we realize that we invent our own realities, in Chapter 2 we’re prompted to address the practice of constantly measuring our existence to some level of achievement. In doing this we are forcing ourselves into a state of striving which prevents us from resting in peace where our creativity flows. The authors advise us to keep asking ourselves how we are “playing into” or reflecting the “measurement world.” They suggest we eliminate that thinking until we come to peace with where we stand.

I got so fired up reading Chapter 3! They are completely validating the Path to Potential (P2P) program that I’ve been working on with a friend for the past ten years! The authors stress the importance of seeing each student (person) we encounter as an “unlimited package of potential.” This thought runs contrary to our antiquated system of grading; measuring and comparing ourselves with each other. The authors ask us to re-think about our system of measuring and grading our children. I play this  idea out in my Art classroom from the first day of school when I ask the students what letter ArtEd begins with and they answer. “A.” Then I tell them everyone in this room begins with an “A” in my class; then along the way I’m going to show them how they’re all growing into “A”rtists! Throughout our time together I’m constantly looking for ways they’re thinking creatively and performing like an Artist then calling them on it while still holding them to a very high standard. Just like it says in the book I become their partner in discovering the necessary skills and self-expression those students require in order to reach their potential. Setting the right environment with my positive attitude and high expectations for them empowers them with the responsibility to also see and find ways to reach their potential!

Once we begin to look at the world through a different lens, we need to actively declare ourselves a contributor. Chapter 4 prompts us to take action to manifest our potential. It’s not as important to know how that will come about as it is to have a conviction of the heart to be open to the possibility.

=D As I’m reading this back to myself I can “hear” Kenny Logins singing “Conviction of the Heart.”  Truth is, for as much as I’ve been using these ideas in dealing with others, I really need to remember to apply all this to myself. I’m grateful to have been introduced to this book and am looking forward to further reading and applying these ideas presented in this book.

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