Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Please Pass the Pie

As part of the faculty and staff opening workshop in August, President Andrea Lee presented The Art of Possibility, a video based on Rosamund and Ben Zander’s book of the same title. Its subtitle is Transforming Professional and Personal Life, and the Zanders present practices that are truly transformational. My personal favorite is Rule Number 6.

“Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws. The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by an hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology. When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?” “Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister. “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so damn seriously.’” “Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.” After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask, are the other rules?” “There aren’t any.”
This simple rule, along with another suggesting that we throw ourselves into life, making a difference, contributing freely and allowing others the opportunity to contribute what they have to offer, was the inspiration for a pie contest.

Before our full staff library meeting in November, all staff received a recipe card in their campus mailbox with minimal information regarding the contest. The only rule? Number 6. Despite lower than expected turnout due to scheduling conflicts, the November 21st meeting included a total of eight pies (accompanied the 16 library folks able to attend the meeting). After business, the final agenda item was the pie tasting and “judging.” Karen Harwood, former head of Technical Services, made a guest appearance to help with the event, and a fine time was had by all. Prizes were awarded based on appearance and delectability. Because the pies did appear, and all eight were delectable, all participants received a prize. The very best prizes, of course, were those served on plates to everyone who could stay and enjoy a pie breakfast.

Thanks to everyone who did not take themselves too seriously, contributed freely, and made the event possible. Who knows? One of our all staff library meetings next year could just Take the Cake!

by B. Klug, Technical Services

Note: The book, The Art of Possiblity by Rosamund and Ben Zander, is in our library’s collection (BC199.P7 Z36 2000).

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