Being considered a professional is important. But most of us are 'old' professionals, not old in age, but old in thinking style and approach to living. Old professionals separate science and spirit and think in terms of either/or - 'you're either for me, or against me.' New professionals connect science and spirit and think in both/and terms. Please read: The New Professionalism: Connecting Science and Spirit, available at www.WisdomAtWorkUSA.com.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Winning and the Orchestra
In the current issue of the Intelligent Optimist magazine, which I highly recommend, Ben
Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and co-author of The Art of Possibility, also talks about
winners and losers in the same way I did in my last post.
Talking about the importance of intelligent optimism to
creating winners, Zander asks if anyone knows a five year old pessimist? Most
of us don’t. But, “around 6, children enter what I call the world of the
downward spiral.At school you start
getting compared to other children, and suddenly it matters to parents that one
child does better than another.Before
school, your family gets excited about everything you do. But then you get
grades and with grades come fear and insecurity.
“There’s nothing objective about a grade. It’s an invented
measurement to decide that one child is better than another. Of course that’s
nobody’s intention. Everyone will say that education is about opening
children’s hearts and minds to new experiences. But grades stand in the way. It
is a devastating experience for a child. Unfortunately, from that time onward
the deck is stacked against [winning as an] intelligent optimist.
“Most motivational material, images and metaphors are from
war or competitive sports, from competitive situations where the aim is to kill
or beat the other person. It’s extraordinary how many metaphors for war we have
in our language.”
Zander offers the symphony orchestra as the metaphor for the
future. “The aim of the orchestra is not to win; the aim is to make sure that
every voice is heard. If both the trumpet and viola are to be heard, the
trumpet has to listen to viola because the trumpet is much louder. This
requires great discipline. An orchestra is a conversation about ‘we’.”
We need more stories about ‘we’, community, inclusion and
cooperation; about both the
individual and the community, not either the individual or the community. We need more metaphors
from endeavors like the orchestra and less from war and competitive sports. We
need a bit more both/and thinking, and less either/or thinking.Of course, both kinds of thinking have a
place. But clearly we’ve spent too much time and energy on the either/ or and
it’s time for the pendulum to swing back towards the ‘we’ and both/and.