Did you give yourself an A today?

Or did you flunk out of life even before you got out of bed?

And what grade did you dole out to the people in your life – at work, at home, on the street?

Einstein famously said that it was nonsense to found a theory on observable facts alone, since in reality the very opposite happens: “It is theory which decides what we can observe.”

In other words, we take the world our senses offer us and give it meaning through the filter of whatever assumptions we have chosen to accept as true i.e. the theory behind our lives. As maverick Boston Philharmonic conductor Benjamin Zander  wrote in his amazing book The Art of Possibility,“….its all invented anyway, so we might as well invent a story or a framework of meaning that enhances our quality of life and the life of those around us.”

Zander points out that giving yourself and others an unconditional A isn’t about rewards or success or setting standards. It implies a posture of respect, rather than comparison, creating a safe space for partnership and discovery.

When you’re no longer preoccupied with how everyone (yourself included) is measuring up, it allows you to breathe a bit easy and relax into your true self. It becomes easier to tap into and embrace the passion rather than the cynicism that resides within.

A brilliant speaker and teacher, Zander’s talk at TED is legendary:

Experiment with the theory your life stands on. Tweak the framework – broaden it, expand the assumptions, and spend a week generously handing out As to yourself and others.

Watch as your relationships morph and change before your shining eyes.