Life Coaching Notes on the Art of Possibility


The Art of Possibility” was written by Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and Rosamund Zander, who is a psychologist and painter. The two combined their unique professional and personal experiences to co-create a wonderful book outlining innovative paradigms to discover and embrace all the wonderful opportunities we have to create our most successful lives.


As a life coach I’d like to share just  a couple of their incredible insights for leading a more meaningful and fulfilling life: giving an “A” and making a contribution. 


Giving an A


On the first day of class at the New England Conservatory of Music, Zander announces to his class, “Everyone gets an A.”  There’s only one condition – students have to submit a letter, written on that first day but dated the following May, that begins: “Dear Mr. Zander, I got my A because…” In other words, students have to define what will justify an A grade at the beginning of the course.


Or in Zander’s own words, “An A is not an expectation to live up to, but a possibility to live into.”

Most people recognize that the main function of grades is to compare one student against another. While this may make grading easier, it doesn’t provide any real indication of a student’s performance or progress. What would happen, however, if we embraced Michelangelo’s famous assertion that inside every block of stone or marble dwells a beautiful statue – and we only need to remove the excess to discover the work of art within?


When this visionary concept is applied to the grading system, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s pointless to compare one student to another.  Instead, all the energy would be focused on chipping away at the stone, getting rid of whatever is in the way of a person’s developing skills, mastery and self-expression.


Giving an A at the outset levels the playing field so that we can move away from a place of measurement.  Suddenly, success is no longer a quantitative measurement – it’s a qualitative value.  This new level playing field allows people to communicate freely and easily, uninterrupted by the anxiety and fear of failure.  The grade is no longer an expectation, or obsession, to live up to.  Rather, it becomes a possibility to live into, which is a much more powerful approach.


Zander then states that giving an A “invites and recognizes a universal desire in people to contribute to others, no matter how many barriers there are to its expression.”


Making a contribution


Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side.  Wake up each and every day with the question: “How will I be a contribution today?”  This will help you feel that every day you wake up, you’re making yourself a gift to others. You can visit Discover You Coaching to know more details about life coaching.


Declare yourself to be a contribution. Throw yourself into life as someone who makes a difference, accepting that you may not understand how or why.  Rewards in the contribution game are of a deep and rewarding kind. 


Cheating Husbands and Learned Helplessness

Why would anyone want to know if they had a cheating husband?

I’ll tell you why. They want to know the truth!

It’s Better To Know Than To Not Know

Maybe that’s you. Maybe you have come to the place where it is better to know than to not know, who is calling your spouse or who is calling your boyfriend or girlfriend. It is better to know the truth than to lie awake, night after night, tossing and turning as you wrestle with the fear of the unknown.

Or maybe you know, in your heart of hearts, that he is cheating. That’s better than not knowing! You can also hire a service such as Are You Cheating to prove your suspicions. Either way, it is better to get everything out in the open than to live in the dark.

The only way to move forward is from a foundation of truth. One Biblical saying is that “The truth can set you free.” Of course, a similar saying can be found in any book of wisdom across all of human existence. Why? Because it’s true. If we never face the truth we are actually moving backward and giving in to fear and hopelessness.Learned Helplessness

Learned helplessness is a term that comes from animal psychology that has also been accepted as a part of human psychology. Learned helplessness is “the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation” (Seligman, 1975). The details of the experiments that led to the insight of learned helplessness can be easily found with a Google search. But for the point of this article, allow me to summarize the results in three points:

  1. Research animals (dogs) that were not able to find a way to escape their pain (electric shocks) laid down and gave up. They “learned” their helplessness after trying many times to escape the pain and never succeeding.
  2. Of the dogs that were put in a similar situation later on, but with a way of escape built into the experiment, two-thirds did not even try to escape but laid down and gave up once again.
  3. However, one-third of the dogs that had seemingly learned to be helpless, overcame their helplessness and escaped. They had what researchers called an optimism that was realistic; they were able to perceive the source of the pain as “other than personal, pervasive, or permanent.”

Did you catch that third point? They were able to overcome their past depression and hopelessness to see beyond the current source of their pain and take action–they escaped. They believed (in some dog way) that the pain was not permanent and could come to an end.

In every experiment about learned helplessness, the common element was the subject’s belief about control. If they felt they could gain control, they were able to escape.

How about you? Will you choose action and regain control over your emotions and your future? Will you take a step to either try to save your marriage or at least move on with your life?

Take Action

Which of the two reactions to the doubts, fears, and depression in your life will you choose? Only by taking an action to confront the source of your pain–to know the truth about the future of your marriage–can you get to the other side and escape the agony you are in of not knowing if it can be saved or if it is over.

Take that plunge, find the courage, and seek out the truth. I’ve been where you are! But I found a step-by-step course you and your spouse can go through in the privacy of your own home. It is written by professionals with over 1,000 testimonials of saved marriages to back them up.

So you think you need to hire a PI? Now what?

When someone mentions “Private Investigator”, all sorts of things come to mind. Mostly thoughts about some dark, dingy office hidden away in some back alley. Trench coats, booze in the desk drawer and unpaid bar tabs down the street at the local pub. Let’s face it – this is a romantic exciting lifestyle – at least it is if you watch TV!

But in real life, most people know nothing about what a PI is really all about. Hiring one is not something that you do everyday. How do you find one? Will I get ripped off? Is it expensive? These are some of the questions that you will have as you look through the phone book over the countless ads that you will find.

Here are some good basic tips that will help you out.

First of all, take a moment to visit your States Government web site and find out what the licensing requirements are for your state. By doing so you will have a better idea of what the requirements are for investigative agencies. For example, if Florida, you must hire the “agency” and not the individual “investigator”. Therefore, all licensed investigators must work for an agency. Even if it’s a one man operation – there must be an agency license and and individual investigator license.

Once you know the state requirements you should contact them and ask to verify that the license is valid. You can also inquire into whether there have been any complaints or charges filed against them.

The next thing you want to know about is insurance. Some states may not require an agency to carry insurance. You would want to hire one that has coverage so you should ask to see proof of insurance such as a certificate of insurance.

Another way to look for a good agency is to check with a State organization for investigators. If there is an active organization in your state, most top notch investigators will belong to it. You can contact them and look through their directory listing and more than likely find several agencies in your area.

Look at their website. Find out what areas they specialize in, and make sure they are able to handle your type of case. For example, Are You Cheating, is a company that can help you handle suspected infidelity.

You can ask for references, but don’t be surprised if you don’t get any. Most people who hire an investigator don’t want to talk about with others. You may get references from law firms and other professional businesses, but not from individuals.

It is not uncommon for investigators to work out of their homes. So you should not hold this against someone just because they don’t have a big flashy office with lots of overhead. Today, with computers playing such an important part of the investigators tool bag, it’s easy to work from a home office. This actually makes it easier for some investigators who work a lot of strange hours such as required for domestic cases and insurance fraud work. 

Ask a lot of questions. Go for an interview. You need to feel confident and comfortable that they know and understand what you are looking for. Every good investigator will “listen” to you and be able to offer you some ideas, suggestions and advice to help you with your needs.

Hiring an investigator doesn’t have to be a hard thing to do. Do some research and try and find someone that you feel good about. Then let them do what they are trained to do. Give them the time they need to properly do their job. Most investigations don’t happen overnight, so relax, let them do their job. You can always get status reports on the progress as they are moving along.

Good luck!