At the beginning of the year, I declared that in my orbit, that 2018 would be the year of “Positive Powerful Possibilities.” I wrote on “Positivity” for four months and I have written on “Power” for four months. Now, we move into “Possibilities” as we go into the Fall and end of the year.
We all deal in the realm of possibilities every single day. Every imagination we have is an exploration of the possibilities. Possibilities are critical to our lives. If we do not consider options and possibilities, we lose our humanness.
However, unintentionally, we often focus on negative possibilities that never happen. We must train our minds to explore possibilities and increase positivity so that our desired outcomes are well informed.
The dictionary on my iMac defines possibilities as:
“a thing that may happen or be the case: [with clause]: there was always the possibility that he might be turned down | the theoretical possibility of a chain reaction. • the state or fact of being likely or possible; likelihood: there was no possibility of recompense for him. • a thing that may be chosen or done out of several possible alternatives: one possibility is to allow all firms to participate | there are three possibilities for obtaining extra money. • (possibilities) unspecified qualities of a promising nature; potential: the house was old but it had possibilities.”
Ahhhhhh – unspecified qualities of a promising nature; potential.
Possibilities are inherently:
- Hopeful – We imagine and want beneficial outcomes.
- Powerful – Think potential.
- About the future – The anticipation of what tomorrow may hold.
- About change – It is always different than what the status quo has been.
- Optional – We know that it is not a predictable outcome and may or may not happen.
- Virtuous – Good qualities reside within the possibilities as we explore them.
This means that we cannot be fully attached to the specific outcome that we are pursuing. It is more of an adventure than a specific planned goal and it is designed to stretch us.
There is a difference between possibilities and probabilities. Too often we begin to brainstorm to problem solve from the probabilities of what we think could happen and we do not consider the possibilities.
Possibilities are freeing. You find liberation there. You find options you never thought about.
From that place, you begin to narrow down into the probabilities of your desired outcome given the values that you have in place.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to return to this diagram repeatedly and explore if we are how we can expand and inform our sense of possibilities so that our probabilities are more in alignment with who we want to be and what we want to see in the world.
Too often, we are not intentional about this process and make limited conclusions that are not filtered through rich possibilities.
It is important to take the time to think about possibilities because we live in a society that deeply values systems. Systems are designed to take out creativity and reduce both the possibility and probability of error, increased costs and liabilities. But in systematizing everything, we take out, often unintentionally, the very essence of life.
This is why systems have built-in biases based on their construction and, it turns out, the solutions to our greatest social issues on the planet today, do not reside within these structures of systems.
That is why I love art.
Art is the opposite of systems.
As I have said before, I am deeply interested in the arts. I love art as creative expression.
I have noticed that beauty helps me tap into creative thinking which is at the core of thinking of possibilities. Surrounding myself with art, viewing art and just looking at art helps me tap into the realm of possibilities.
Exploring visual art, paintings, photography, music or anything that stimulates my senses and absorbs me in beauty, soothes that fear that comes up when change is imminent and also helps me tap into possibilities, so I can generate value based solid probabilities.
One of my favorite artists in the whole entire world is Bruce Onabrakpeya.
He is a famous Nigerian artist, a friend of my father, art teacher who taught many of my friends who went to St. Gregory’s High School in Lagos, and he still lives and breathes.
On my bucket list is to go visit him in his studio in what is called a slum in Mushin, a suburb of Lagos, near where I grew up.
This is an amazing write up about his life and work. Please read and support living artists.
I am incredibly fortunate to own a limited edition of this piece by him and it was so wonderful to read about it in this piece. He writes about nation-building and the independence of Nigeria from Great Britain.
When I show pictures of my art on Social Media, it is not to brag. I always hesitate to share what I own because I want to check my motives for posting it. I post because it is beautiful. I post because I really believe in the value of the life work of living artists. I post because there just is not enough beauty shared in the world and I post to educate and celebrate the artist. I post because art heals the world. I post because I am deeply envious of those that can create such transformative work like this. I post because this art inspires me. I post because this is part of what has informed my life and makes me a better person. I post it because it represents possibilities that I aspire towards that feel intangible but I know are out there.
The reason I support the arts is that art is where imagination yells out loud. Art is what helps us entertain the possibilities of life.
Art speaks to our emotions, our dreams, our hopes, our traumas and weaves an expression of the insistence of animated life.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to artistically explore how to engage in a wide range of possibilities.
Please join me and tell others about it. Thank you.
“Thinking about hope responsibly is a way to encourage and foster a sense of possibility that doesn’t deny the ways in which things aren’t OK.” Ellen Ott Marshall,associate professor of Christian ethics and conflict transformation, in an interview with Leadership Education at Duke Divinity about her interest in the tension between hope and the realities of the world.