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We were three unhappy people.Then a molecular change, a brightening of the day.Will you give me two quarters? I asked, cheerfully, intimately, my whole self on the wing.The man before me looked up slowly as though confronted with an ancient riddle.The onlooker sprung to life.Yes! he said, reaching into his pockets, I can give you the quarters, and he stretched out his hand.Yet the other gentleman still stood in some confusion.The directions spilled forth as from a horn of plenty.Like a tap to a kaleidoscope that shifts identical pieces of glass into different patterns, the scene changed before our eyes from bankruptcy to abundance with just the slightest nudge to the frame.Initially we were relating to each other in the assumption that money is scarce, exchanges must be fair, and that property boundaries were impenetrable.This perspective had us locked into a condition of breakdown.Look, lend me two quarters for goodness sake, and I’ll return the money on the way back from the museum, and I might have gotten my dreary way.But it would hardly have brightened anyone’s morning.Persuasion is typically used to get the thing you want, whether or not it is at someone else’s expense.Persuasion works fine when the other person’s agenda matches yours or when the transaction somehow benefits them as well.We call that aligning interests. But in this case there was nothing in it for the two men, at least from the world of measurement, except to see me on my way.The practice of enrollment, on the other hand, is about generating possibility and lighting its spark in others.It is not about the quarters.The sudden realization that we were all trapped in a box of scarcity, unable to act effectively over a matter that cost no more than fifty cents enabled me to step into a universe of possibility—the only place from which you can enroll other people.Why not jump out of our car and toss two quarters in the bin?The plain request Will you give me two quarters? conveyed a vibrant new world, one in which asking, giving, and receiving were all easy, generous acts.Possibility has its own music, its own gestures, its own kind of radiance, and the attendant caught the spark.How could we help but be joyous that we had the means among us to make everything work?I was helping the Philharmonia Orchestra of London land a corporate sponsor for one of our concerts, and I approached Arthur Andersen.They turned us down, citing too many other commitments and not enough staff to handle such an event.I made a quick translation in my mind and concluded that they had not seen a strong possibility in the venture.They were not enrolled.So, when on a subsequent visit I arrived in London and found an invitation to a formal dinner for that very evening from the man who had been in the position of granting or refusing my request, I saw it as an opportunity.However, my suitcase was stranded in Holland, and since I was dressed in jeans and sneakers, I went straight out to Selfridges to buy a complete evening wardrobe.The Newham Project, alias Education Action Zone, was to be launched with the personal involvement of the prime minister the following September.By the end of our dinner, I, who had come to see if I might obtain a sponsorship for my project, found myself fully enrolled in theirs.The dim shape of a collective plan began to emerge.It was suggested that I go to one of the failing schools to introduce the students to classical music with the idea that children and teachers alike would come to believe in their own creativity through the metaphor of music.Arthur Andersen would take on the expense of bringing the entire Philharmonia Orchestra to the school for a subsequent session.In addition, they agreed to sponsor two hundred of the students who might choose to attend our concert at the Royal Festival Hall.And, oh yes, in recognition of my participation in this educational initiative, Arthur Andersen offered to fully sponsor the Philharmonia concert.The Eastlea School is located in the toughest, bleakest section of London’s Docklands district, where the pupil population is largely minority.In my initial visit to the school to meet with the administrators, I was surprised to see that all the children were under sixteen.When I asked why this was so, it was explained to me that sixteen is the age at which they are legally able to leave school.Thirty of the children were in wheelchairs with illnesses or congenital conditions as serious as cerebral palsy and spina bifida.Presiding over the whole institution was the irrepressible and indefatigable Maggie Montgomery, headmistress extraordinaire, who enthusiastically welcomed the prospect of the visit of a conductor of some international renown to her school.We decided on the gym as the only possible location for the first presentation.Maggie admitted that she had never before dared to hold a full school assembly since it would take nearly an hour to seat all eleven hundred students, and their rowdiness was likely to be uncontrollable.She greeted my description of a session two hours long with bemused disbelief, predicting that her teachers would say that fifteen minutes of classical music would be stretching the limit.Do whatever you think you can do!When the day came for my visit, in addition to the kids and teachers, a hundred or so executives and clients from Arthur Andersen swelled the assembled company to over twelve hundred.This was to be the launching of the Education Action Zone program nationwide.The teachers were doing their best to keep order, but as I looked out over the whole scene, it seemed as though their efforts at discipline were only increasing the tension and noise level.By the end I remember feeling exhausted and thinking the venture really might be hopeless.I can’t subject the Philharmonia Orchestra to this, I thought.This is a success!

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