Have you seen TED?
No, TED is not a friend from down the street or a buddy from work, TED (short for Technology, Entertainment, and Design) is a non-profit organization with the focus of “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It is a truly amazing organization. Great videos. Learn more about TED here.
After learning about TED, I occasionally look for interesting TED talks to get information or inspiration from. Some of the more interesting TED talks I have viewed dealt with directional speakers and growing adult molars in a dish. I recently wandered upon this talk entitled Benjamin Zander on Music and Passion. Not terribly interesting title to me except for the presenter, Benjamin Zander.
The Art of Possibility
A few months ago, I happened upon a book, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. To say this book changed my life is a little dramatic, but it did and still does have a profound effect on me. One specific topic, Give everyone an “A” (explained briefly in a previous post), has greatly changed the way I look at people. So, after seeing that Mr Zander was giving a TED talks, I was very anxious to watch.
The talk is approximately twenty minutes long. From the start to about minute 17, the focus in classical music and how to appreciate that style. The way he explains the music was fantastic. At around the 17 minute mark, he talks about his role as a conductor. As a conductor, his job is to engage his musicians in the performance and after being a conductor for 20 years, he realized that if his musicians are not engaged, it was his fault.
In his own words,
“My job was to awaken possibility in other people… you can tell they are engaged by the shine in their eyes… If their eyes are not shining… who am I being that my players eyes are not shining.”
What can we learn?
There is a huge lesson here for everyone in a position of leadership; what am I being that is preventing the my people from being engaged? As a parent, what am I being that is keeping my children from being happy, engaged, and curious. What am I doing? We want everyone to be engaged but sometimes fail to realize that the problem is with us, not others. We need to evaluate what we could be doing that is keeping other people from being exceptional.
The final point he makes is the importance of what comes out of our mouths. He tells a story of a holocaust survivor that was in Auschwitz. The last thing she said to her younger brother was in anger about his shoes he had lost. She never saw him again. When she left Auschwitz, she decided that for the rest of her life, she would never again say anything that could not stand as the last thing she ever said to that person.
How often do we dismiss our employees, coworkers, and family because we perceive that we don’t have time for them now? Who are we being that they are not engaged in work and life the way they should be? What if our dismissal, mean comment, or praise was the last thing we ever said to them? Does it change your outlook? It does mine….