Our entire lives, we seem to be working towards hitting goalposts to feel happy and valued. What would happen if we decided to just give ourselves an ‘A’? 

An unconditional A in life where, instead of trying to reach other people’s standards, we opened ourselves to infinite possibilities.

That’s what giving yourself an A is all about. 

This concept is drawn from Ben Zander’s and Rosamund Stone Zander’s book The Art of Possibility. Ben is a prominent conductor and the managing director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. Rosamund is a therapist who is a pioneer in boosting leadership and relationships. 

Their work is a transformational book that I recommend everyone to read. If you’re struggling to create art, write a book, or start a business, then reading this book and giving yourself an A can transform your life. Let’s look at a few reasons why you should give yourself an A and how to do that. 

Why you should give yourself an A

Giving yourself an unconditional A will open new ways of looking at the world. Consider the following benefits that allowing yourself to get an A will help. 

You realize that it’s all invented

Giving yourself an A compels you to realize that the standards that exist in the world are all made up. But we spend considerable time and effort going after them and feel stressed in the process. 

When you give yourself a grade A, you see that the world’s standards won’t necessarily give you personal happiness. Keeping up with Joneses, having to get a promotion, getting a specific job are all great goals. But they aren’t reasons to judge yourself. 

When you give yourself an A, you realize that your value does not lie in man-made standards. You’re deserving of an A just the way you are. 

Create self-acceptance and other-acceptance

An A allows you to see and accept yourself and others for their fullest potential. It helps you see that you’re doing your best and that others are too. 

It creates acceptance of the self and others, removing judgment and stopping you from taking action that creates a less than helpful outcome. 

As you go about life, remember to give yourself an A and others too, whether they are your boss, neighbors, in-laws, or anyone else. This opens up limitless possibilities in life. 

How to give yourself an A

Here’s an adaptation from the book, The Art of Possibility. To give yourself an A, do this:

  • Start writing a letter. In this letter, state that you give yourself an unqualified A
  • Then start writing out a description of the kind of person you will be by the end of the year or next year to show why you’ve gotten an A
  • Reflect on what it means to give yourself an A and see the potential you have waiting to come out

The beauty of this exercise is that it helps you see the potential you have and that you are the kind of person who deserves an A. 

It’s not about setting an expectation that you have to live up but seeing all the possibilities of life.

Take a leap and give yourself an A

The act of giving yourself an A is an act of unconditional self-acceptance. It’s a powerful way to help you live in the present moment and to avoid judging yourself or others. 

Take the lessons and ideas from this post and write yourself a letter and recognize that you are an A grade person. When you do this, you’ll see endless possibilities and opportunities emerge in life.