Part three in a series of six posts on my experience with the high-concept, high-touch aptitudes presented in Dan Pink’s A Whole New Mind, that are needed to bring us into the new conceptual era.  Check the original post for background.

Today’s symphony.  What do you see?

Say it aloud: Symphony. It almost sounds like ‘sing for me’.  Symphony immediately conjures up an image of a grand orchestra creating a musical masterpiece, each instrument harmoniously weaving itself into perfection with all of the other components.  No one instrument would be able to produce the piece by itself, nor would the rest of the instruments be able to compensate for a missing part.  This is the very idea of symphony and why Mr. Pink lists it as one of the aptitudes that cannot be outsourced to Asia, nor automated, and precisely why it fills a need in our age of abundance.

Symphony is that innately human ability to connect a bunch of seemingly disparate parts and synthesize them into a complex, very complete whole.  Computers can’t really see the big picture, but humans can.  We know how to create and cultivate relationships.  We recognize patterns, we cross boundaries. Humans integrate different ideas into existing ones to birth invention.

The beauty of life is like a grand symphony. It’s full of so many detailed, often complex parts that all contribute to a much greater whole.  When we get hung up on the tiny details, our life symphony goes out of tune.  Stepping back to look at the bigger picture, we see the beauty and significance of the whole.  The skill lies in keeping the contributing parts in tune so that our daily song is too.  We learn to recognize when one instrument goes astray and realize how it affects our overall piece.

Portugal was a big test of my symphony.  Challenged to cultivate so many separate parts: friends, language, job, house, finances, immigration, love, and leisure I was often straining to keep my symphony in tune.  My symphony is one in which all parts are relatively equal, contributing solid levels of harmonic awesomeness.  My song is out of tune if the job is really high pitched but the social and living situation are lower key.  Equally so if the finances are riding high but the friends and leisure are lacking.   Pieces of our life can consume us and shake our focus from seeing the whole. Portugal schooled me in how important it was to have all parts of my symphony well-tuned and balanced. I learned how to see patterns in my choices, to rely on and integrate many separate resources to build something solid and whole.  I have heard pieces of my well-functioning symphony and I love that it slightly changes its sound over time.  The beauty is that we all have different symphonies.  What does yours sound like?


~ by maureenmoore on December 22, 2009.

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