A shoe factory sends two marketing scouts to a region of Africa to study the prospects for expanding business. One sends back a telegram saying:
SITUATION HOPELESS STOP NO ONE WEARS SHOES
The other writes back triumphantly:
GLORIOUS BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY STOP
THEY HAVE NO SHOES
This simple story used by Benjamin and Rosamund Stone Zander in The Art of Possibility is their invitation to possibility. They suggest that in the world we inhabit – “it’s all invented”. How often have you shared an experience with someone (a meeting, a movie, a meal, …) and, in discussing it afterwards, you find little that the two of you can agree on? Perhaps you both heard the same key points in the meeting but understood them differently. Maybe one of you fell asleep from boredom in the theater while the other was riveted to the screen. And that meal? Well, each of us interprets delectability based on our taste buds so the exact same food will produce different sensations in each of us. In the same way, ears hear different frequencies and eyes may be 20/20, 20/100 or color blind.
We take in information according to our sensors. Beyond that, we actually don’t know what we’ve taken in until the sensors have passed the information on to our brain, and our brain has interpreted these new data and categorized them in the library of our memory banks.
Pause and take that in for a moment.
The world you inhabit and the world I inhabit are not the same world! From our sensory organs to the computer in our heads and its storehouse of previous experiences (along with the storehouse in our emotional memory bank), each of us creates the world around us:
It’s All Invented!
What could that mean to us? Consider:
- We could get curious about another’s reactions before making assumptions and passing judgment
- We could get curious about our own responses and wonder “What’s that about?”
- We could realize how much power lies in this truth – and use the power to invent other interpretations, scenarios, outcomes
- We could choose to believe in expansive possibility once we realize that the key to this universe is in our minds!
What limiting invention have you created?
What glorious opportunity is waiting for your recognition?
What is possible?