“I want you to imagine that you are alone with Adolf Hitler before his rise to power,” he told the composer, “and that you have only 90 seconds to play him a piece of music that will convince him not to commit his atrocities.”
By framing it that way, he got Yared to contemplate a theme that formed the basis of the movie’s score. The music details the horrors perpetrated by the Stasi, the infamous secret police who terrorized the people of East Germany during the Cold War.
Lesson: Set goals that inspire people to stretch themselves and their imaginations, not just follow instructions.
—Adapted from an interview with Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck on National Public Radio and with Charlie Rose on PBS.