A Lesson from Benjamin Zander on Finding Your Identity


We love Benjamin Zander, especially his book The Art of Possibility, which he co-wrote with his wife, Rosamund Stone Zander. (Then again, we have a soft spot for couples who collaborate.) One of the key lessons from this book is to “give yourself an A.” We’ll let Benjamin Zander explain: 

So, here’s what we suggest you do: write yourself a letter - in past tense - explaining in as much detail as you can, the story of what will have happened to you over the course of the next year. Imagine all of the insights you’ve gained and the milestones you’ve reached. Picture all of your accomplishments, and how they have shaped you as an individual. Speak freely about who you plan to become by the end of a year. Detail the thoughts and feelings you’ll have, and how you’ll have supported others. Explain how you have been your most creative over the past year, and list all of the innovation you’ve pursued. 

If you were your most creative and inspired, what would that look like? If you started to ask yourself, What if? What’s next? Why not? How might that change your attitude and worldview?How might it shape your vision for the future? 

Now, how can you fall madly in love with this person? 

Don’t say I hope, I intend, or I will. Be specific, direct, and accomplished. You did do this and that. You did accomplish x, y, z. You did become this person. Because everything is invented - our standards, our judgements, our grades - so we’re going to invent a new story to grow into. 

Just remember Rule #6!