I was so moved by the experience of seeing and hearing the Czech Philharmonic in Warsaw a few weeks ago, that it led me to imagine what is possible when a group of extremely talented and dedicated people come together for a shared purpose. They were all extremely skillful and the word that wouldn’t leave me alone was practice.
Self-awareness takes practice. Empathy takes practice. All interpersonal skills take commitment, practice, and support to develop them. If we are willing to practice being with others in a way that allows each of us to bring our best, we can go beyond teamwork to impossible things being possible.
Daniel Pink describes symphony as a skill in his book A Whole New Mind: Symphony, as I call this aptitude, is the ability to put together the pieces. It is the capacity to synthesize rather than analyze; to see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields; to detect broad patterns rather than to deliver specific answers; and to invent something new by combining elements nobody else thought to pair. He goes on to add that symphony is recognizing patterns, crossing boundaries to uncover hidden connections, and making bold leaps of imagination.
I wonder what is possible when we suspend knowing, let go of having answers, and look deeply into the present moment for clues and signs of what could and might be trying to happen? I imagine that the tech industry, entertainment industry, and the arts are all based on exploration and discovery and the willingness to just play. Play with what happens, try things, observe, listen, tune in and discover what is there and emerging.
I heard Peter Block interviewed once and someone asked, “How long can people hang out in emergent space?” His response was not a surprise, “Not long”. I think that we don’t seem to have the patience to be truly curious. I believe, from my 45 years of teaching, that curiosity, intuition, and the willingness to play and experiment is where all of the coolest things have come from. Having a mindset of “you know what would be cool?” Sticky notes, Velcro, self-driving cars, the internet. Someone thought those up, probably not alone, probably in symphony…with others.
What do you think would be cool?
Who else might be willing to play and try things and discover?
What might be possible if we played together even if we aren’t in the Czech Philharmonic?
I’d love to hear your ideas.