Disruption and learning: two sides of the same coin?

“If we get up every morning and we say to ourselves ‘what can I learn today?’ we should all be able to define our lives on a daily basis.”

Maestro Jaap van Zweden of the New York Philharmonic

I used to say curiosity was my strong suit but now I want to switch it up and make “what can I learn today?” my motto.

Why this topic?

I had been planning to write about how I was dealing (or not!) with disruption in my personal life. Specifically the disruption of responsibilities at our co-op building. We’re a self-managed co-op which means all tasks associated with the building are handled by us, the five owners. There is no managing agent.

At our most recent meeting, we decided to reallocate tasks to make it easier for all co-op members to contribute, e.g., if somebody has a heavy work travel schedule they have a tough time being here to let in workers and so on.

For me, that meant giving up my beloved role as treasurer and instead assuming responsibiliy for our building’s construction and repair projects. Yikes. Talk about being filled with dread. It’s just not inherently where my greatest talents lie.

But then I had an epiphany. It hadn’t been anyone else’s either. I decided I would tackle the problem by embracing this disruption. I would challenge myself to learn how a building functions and do it with an owner’s mentality.

as luck would have it, inspiration fell into my lap
Scroll down for more.

By happenstance, I came upon a rerun of an interview with Jaap van Zweden of the NY Philharmonic on NYC-Arts.

He was talking about all the challenges he had overcome throughout his career. Of the many times he was challenged by something new and how scared it made him feel. But he focused on learning and in the process, rose to the occasion and overcame those problems.

And then towards the end of the interview, he drops this pearl of wisdom.

He mentioned that every morning when he wakes up, he asks himself “What Can I Learn Today?” And he takes that sentiment with him as he heads to the rehearsal hall.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Absolutely the right advice at the right time for the disruption facing me.

Besides my building challenges where I need to learn a lot real fast, I am also about to leave on my next Nat Geo trip and those words resonated for that adventure as well.

More on that tomorrow!

In the meanwhile, I have a meeting later today with our contractor on two building projects that will start when I get back from my trip.

Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well for “construction Irma” today! 👷🏻‍♀️

Share this post on: