Beautiful Barriers




I encountered today a wonderful expression of the same insight that I shared in my video, Roadwork for Enduring Success.

The GatesYou may recall that in 2003 the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude created in New York’s Central Park a huge art installation called The Gates. You may not know that it took more than twenty years to get permission to erect this work; they began in 1979. HBO produced a documentary that covers the decades of work and persuasion that ensued. The film includes a conversation early in the process in which the artists were sternly warned about the many steps and barriers likely to occur, given the state of NYC politics and finances–despite the fact that the artists would pay all of the millions of dollars the project cost.

Christo invited those cynical insiders into his point-of-view. “The project is growing from the bottom. That is the very point. Think of it positively.” Please do not regard this as a bureaucratic horror or a political monstrosity. Art is not about the final object seen at the end. Art is a creative process. The preparation, the protests, the persuasion, and postponements are all part of the poetry; necessary and constitutive parts of the artistic expression.

So much of daily lives, our families and careers, can be regarded either as delays and obstructions or as essential parts of the process, lines in the poem, the second act of the drama, the background that makes the foreground visible –and beautiful.




If you can swing and you’ve got your health, you can get through things. If you view the antagonist as cooperative, struggle becomes opportunity. Is the jazz soloist struggling or is he being creative? Why was Louis Armstrong always smiling?

Albert Murray




© Tony Mayo except as otherwise noted
For Executives.
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Tony Mayo, Top Executive Coach, is located in Reston, Virginia 20190