Book Review: Pathways to Possibility
Pathways to Possibility
Transforming Our Relationship with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World
By Rosamund Stone Zander
Rosamund Stone Zander is a family systems therapist known for creating leadership models and coaching business teams—including those at Whirlpool, Harvard Medical School, and IBM—to have better relationships and more abundant results. Her previous book, The Art of Possibility, sold 600,000 copies.
In Pathways to Possibility, Zander introduces readers to an opportunity for transformation via rewriting our old stories, essentially changing the worldview we’ve gripped onto since childhood. Examples might include “Dad never supported me,” or “All dogs bite.” How do you know if you’ve got a childish story? If it’s absolute; causing you to be overly cautious or anxious; or when you assume it will always repeat. These child stories keep us in patterns of thought and behavior that hold us back well into adulthood. The adult mind, in contrast, is creative, open, and flexible, “willing to entertain new thoughts and feelings without the need to protect itself.” The first part of the book gives examples on how to recognize and gain mastery over these emotions.
The next portion of the book is a bit more mind-bending. Zander asks us to stop seeing ourselves as the center of the universe—challenging for most of us—and see ourselves within the greater web of the cosmos. Nothing is happening within a closed system, despite our tendencies to blame ourselves or focus on ourselves entirely. When we focus on partnerships and possibilities, opportunities abound. Imagine you are rafting down a river, Zander explains. “If you see the world in a wider frame, you can say, ‘I worked with the river, and together we arrived at the landing, and then the river went on.’ After all, isn’t the whole universe at play wherever we are?”