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Living an interesting life is a commitment I made to myself for 2024.

An Interesting Life

Experiencing Ukraine in 2023 was one of the most interesting things I’ve done. I plan to repeat the experience not only again in Ukraine but in other interesting ways in 2024. How about you? What interesting things will do you in the coming year?

Let Benjamin Zander offer you some inspiration. Since 1979, Zander has been the musical director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.

He has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping you realize your untapped love for leading an interesting life.

Zander uses music to help people open their minds and create joyful harmonies that bring out the best in themselves and their colleagues.

He proposes that you live your life on one butt cheek at a time.TED Zander

A One Cheek Performance

At one point during his popular TED talk, Zander plays the piano and is moved by the music to the edge of his piano bench. He. shares the power of music to move you.

“A gentleman was once watching a presentation I was doing, when I was working with a young pianist. He was the president of a corporation in Ohio. I was working with this young pianist, and said, “The trouble with you is you’re a two-buttock player. You should be a one-buttock player!” I moved his body while he was playing. And suddenly, the music took off. It took flight. The audience gasped when they heard the difference. Then I got a letter from this gentleman. He said, “I was so moved. I went back and I transformed my entire company into a one-buttock company!” – An excerpt from Zander’s TED Talk

When you are creating and you use your body, the music moves through you differently, it stretches you and comes out of you more expressively – with more passion. Great pianists are moved by the music they play.

You open yourself to being moved by letting emotion and passion take hold of you. That combination makes you feel utterly and completely capable.

Shining Eyes

Success is how many shining eyes you have around you. 

Shining eyes are the looks of inspiration, respect and passion that surround a great leader. At the end of his talk, Zander asks, “Who am I being that my children’s eyes are not shining.”

In other words, how can we improve ourselves so that we inspire the people around us?

Starting With An A

Zander found many of his students in a state of anxiety and stress over their performances. They wouldn’t take risks and feared failure. To combat this he gave every student in his class an A at the beginning of the course. That’s interesting.

To retain this grade, each student had only to write a letter telling Mr. Zander, in as much detail as possible, what he or she had done to earn the A, and how the student had changed and grown by the end of the year.

The student also had to describe to Mr. Zander the kind of person he or she had become.

Zander says, “An automatic and advance-graded A breaks barriers and enlivens a person’s actions. It lets him or her speak freely about his or her thoughts and feelings, and support others in their own dreams.”

The A is not an expectation to live up to, but a possibility to live into.

More Zander Quotes

The practice of giving an A transports your relationships from the world of measurement into the universe of possibilities.

“The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.”

“Find the right framework and extraordinary accomplishment becomes an everyday experience.”

The video of Benjamin Zander is from his TED Talk. If you could watch only ONE video in 2024, this should be it. The content would set a good pattern for you everyday. Listen to the first 4 and last 4 minutes.

What interesting things will you do in 2024? let’s meet back here on December 31st and talk about the interesting things we did.

Please leave a comment below. Remember, make it interesting. Thank you.

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  • Emmanuel Fonte says:

    Bob, one of my all-time favorite books. Ben is brilliant, as a musician, communicator, teacher and leader. Much to be learnt from his insights. Thanks for such a great post!

  • bob jones says:

    Thanks my friend, for connecting and commenting. I think a lot of Ben’s greatness has rubbed off on you.

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