Benjamin & Rosamund Zander @ THNK forum, ‘The Tour of Possibility’

This evening’s forum at has a mystery speaker. People have been trying to guess all week who it might be. Speculations from royalty, to rock stars to famous philosophers. Earlier forum guests at THNK have included Queen Maxima, Steve Howard, CSO of IKEA, Jose Maria Figueres of the Carbon War Room and ex-President Costa Rica, Esther Wojcicki, chair of the Creative Commons board of directors and Michael Johnson director of PIXAR. So who could it be tonite?

At 7pm in walks …  the fabulous Benjamin Zander, conductor, TED speaker and author, together with his ex-partner in life Rossamund Stone Zander, together they are the authors of one of my favorite books: the Art of Possibility.

Benjamin is famous for his ability to convince people that they can love classical music, from busy CEO’s to young children in conflict zones, he reconnect us with the magic of music. and Rosamund Stone Zander I know less about, but as we know behind every famous man there is a powerful woman, Hopefully tonite we will get to know her better.

Here we go!


Benjamin introduces Ross, as his exwife, and says that she is the real source of the book the Art of Posssibility. Ross jumps up and quips that Benjamin is her Wusband, (has been husband), wonderful example of collaboration with your ex-life partner.

Benjamin wants us to meet another person in the audience,  Mark Churchill, his  friend of 42 years, with whom he collaborated all through that time, and then when they were both, recently fired, Benjamin syas that he himself fell into some despondency while Mark was undeterred. Since then, together they have set up a new orchestra with which they played in the Concert Gebouw in Amsterdam this weekend and Benjamin syas – someone who has conducted thousands of concerts that this was possibly the best concert ever! The new orchestra is called the Boston Philharmonic Youth


Thnk folks listening up.

Possibility is not the same as positive thinking, Possibility is making it happen!
Ross jumps in. Possibility is always only one sentence away!
She also says something which was seriously beautiful because of its normalness, she says, ”I love you” and gives Benjamin a hug, good to note, they just re-met at the door of THNK this evening.

The difference between between driving on the open road and behaving and then they start behaving well, when they get into the tunnel, because they share a vision of what has to happen, Benjamin compares this to the Youth Orchestra he is travelling with from Mastricht to Haarlem to Rotterdam to Amsterdam. They are all in clear consistency of vision, this orchestra, they know what their visions is.
Their t-shirts say: ‘Shaping future leaders through music’

You can’t say Vision Accomplished.

So what’s the method at work here?
It’s largely based on El Systemo, in Venezuela, 

Assignments that Rossmund devices for the group on their tours are for example:
– Notice your contribution this week.
– Walk with spirit and love.
– Compete and give up wanting to win

Rossamund tell us that while these assignments may sound unusual, in the context of a group who has commited to moving together in the realm of possibility, these assignments make complete sense and bring out the most amazing qualities in people.

There are two systems in the world:
1. The downward spiral and the realm of possibility. In the downward spiral, hierarchy is the name of the game, winners and losers, success and failure, ok there are moments of love.

2. The system of possibility where there is no hierarchy, there is vision, there is rules and possibility.
Rule number 6: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Shining eyes.
Looking around the room Benjamin spots a number of people whose eyes are shining, and says that the way it should be, people with shining eyes, otherwise you are directing folk in the wrong way.
Rossamund says: You are the source of the story of your life. If you don’t like the story rewrite it.
All hierarchy is evil, says Rossamund.


Mark Churchill sharing some of his experience of working with Benjamin.

Possibility Leaders
A new type of leader. Either they enroll you or you enroll them.

Rosamund answering questions from Thnkr’s

I love Rosamunds answer to Peter’s question about scale, in the sense of how do you take this to scale, beyond the 9 million TED video views and the thousands who have read the book. She says I think it’s easy to underestimate the effect of your presence. Every moment is a new possibility  to create.

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