Art of Possibility Reflection: Unexpected Directions & Unanticipated Destinations

I just finished updating the reading part of my course and I somehow ended up telling my own story of Possibility. At this point in the course my students have read the first nine chapters of the Art of Possibility and are finishing up their final week in my course. They are just about to begin their last month in Full Sail’s emdtms program. Thus, the following is a glimpse of what my students suffer through. Don’t feel sorry for them. I’m the one who has to read (and grade) their blogs. Ack. Actually that is one of the best parts of this job, it’s reading the great things they share in their blogs… oh yeah, I usually share such things right here in this blog. Duh. Enjoy

:: Description
You will read the Art of Possibility chapters 10 -12 and post one entry (or more) into your blog.

:: Rationale

pacbell by joe bustillos
pacbell by joe bustillos
Sometimes the road we take in the Universe of Possibility leads us in unexpected directions and to unimagined destinations. I took a summer job with Pacific Bell in California. That the company was called Pacific Bell might tell you how long ago that was. I met an energetic manager who shared with me that the secret to avoiding job boredom was to never stay in one job position for too long. He estimated that 18-months was usually more than enough time to get to know all one needs to know and then move on. He was an unusual entrepreneurial sprirt in a company that was much more well known for it’s “lifers” not making any waves and just putting in the time needed to get to retirement. I wasn’t as entrepreneurial as the manager but I knew, much to my family’s frustration, that there was something more for me to do. After finishing a second bachelor’s degree and nearing the end of my teacher credential program, Pacific Bell decided that it was time to let some people go. Normally that would have been a horrible thing, but for me the timing was perfect and I started my career as a public school teacher a few months after letting go of my 15-year “summer job” with the phone company.

jbb w/ Ben Zander getting book signed
jbb w/ Ben Zander getting book signed
Ah, but the story continues from there. Truth be told, being a teacher was somewhat akin to being a phone company drone in that the highest form of praise tended to be that one always showed up for work on time and never did anything that made work for others. Yeah, I somehow ended up in another world of “lifers.” Of course, I didn’t know any better so I kept doing things like teaching my students video journalism to help with their literacy and brought computers from home into my classroom. I guess I became a bit more entrepreneurial because I’d get involved in creating some new tech/ed/media program on campus, we’d have great success and then after a couple of years the funding would go away and I’d find myself working for another school/district, bringing tech/media to the natives. While getting a master’s degree and time spent working on a doctorate I continued the “create a tech program/find success/lose funding/change jobs” cycle three times. Alas, the doctorate program ran aground (twice), but I was lucky enough to work with Dr. Ludgate and somehow found a home on the opposite end of the country working for Full Sail. I am not the poster child for the Art of Possibility. But I am kind of stubborn as far as expecting a lot from myself because I’ve already been given so much. And if I can influence someone to not settle for the status quo, to push the technology, to enable their students, well then, that’s a damn good day.

The following video features someone who found amazing success, in many ways, through equally amazing failures. Having witnessed three of his incredible keynote speeches, this is not one of his better speeches. But the message is all the more real given the speech’s lack of polish. Enjoy.

:: Resources

The Practices
This books is less of a “study” book, where you try to analyze every sentence and paragraph and more a book that you want to move through and try to focus on the over-arching concepts presented. At the end of each chapter are some questions that form the “practices” part of the book. Use the questions to prompt your book notes that you will post in your blog. Feel free to answer the following study questions, or comment on the practices at the end of each chapter, or write about whatever moves you most (that’s directly related to the reading). Your choice.

Chapter 10. Being the Board: It’s not them. It’s not the circumstances. It’s me. It’s my choices. Now what do I do?

Chapter 11. Creating Frameworks for Possibility: How do I take this flash of insight and make it into daily thing? And how do I share this with others?

Chapter 12. Telling the WE Story: I told you it wasn’t about you. Have you been able to tap into the power of combining your expertise and passions with someone equally gifted? Have you had the pleasure of lifting a teammate, student, stranger up enabling them to realize their dreams and exceed anything that you could have imagined?

Coda: Now what do we do?

Image: Pop!Tech 2008 – Benjamin Zander by Pop!Tech, retrieved on 11/12/2009
image: pacbell01.jpg by Joe Bustillos, retrieved on 11/12/2009
image: jbb & zander by Joe Bustillos, retrieved on 11/12/2009
YouTube: Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005 posted by peestandingup,, retrieved on 11/12/2009.