Truly Powerful People (442)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Over dinner one night Skip asked his friend, the concert pianist, what is the difference between a good and great pianist. Her answer was powerful. She told him the greatness was in the power of visualization. She travels to the composer’s country, she walks the paths they walked, she visits the gardens that inspired their compositions. In performance, she is not reproducing notes; she is walking in the garden. She is taking her audience on a walk through the garden.

A few months ago I had a powerful realization. I was working with teachers attempting to change their system and truly teach (as opposed to prepare for tests). They are working to transcend classrooms of control and compliance and instead create classrooms of self-regulation and self-direction. In short, they are supporting their students to be powerful. They are courageous and magnificent – yet, in the absence of an image for self-directed classrooms, they default to the old existing control image. We act out of our image. I finally saw their challenge. They need a new image. They have the yearning and they understand the process. They need to know what the garden looks like. They need to move toward a new image instead of away from an old habit.

Many years ago I worked for a theatre company. During an outreach program to the local schools I had an experience that jolted me to the core and opened my eyes to the power of the imagination. In a single day we visited two schools, one for the wealthy suburban kids and one for the poor migrant children. In each school we did a story exercise. The young children in the wealthy school imagined themselves to be princesses and princes, fighting dragons, and flying over mountains. The children in the poorer school imagined themselves as adults worried about the rent; instead of flying as birds they fled from landlords and immigration. That afternoon I sat on the curb and cried.

Note to the world: our greatness lives in our power to visualize. We go to the places we imagine. If you want to change the world, help a child fly over mountains. You’ll find that you have to remember how to fly, too. Even Einstein knew the math came second.

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