“The way it is,
Who you are is enough.
The only thing you have to do
Quotations from Werner Erhard
“In manifesting your aliveness, you will want to follow a principle which was beautifully stated by Albert Schweitzer when he said, ‘I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.’ Notice that Dr. Schweitzer says ‘sought and found how to serve.’ He did not say ‘try to serve,’ or ‘try something and drop it,’ or ‘do the best you can.’
Happiness comes from having served successfully.
One continues to expand in one’s ability to serve by meeting the challenge of actually delivering the results.
Decide on a project for which you are willing to take complete responsibility. Complete the project successfully. Relate this achievement to others as an inspiration for them. Your willingness to express yourself may be just the trigger needed by someone else to do something for themselves. From now on, don’t wait for something to happen to you. Actually take responsibility for making something happen. Keep at it until you make it a successful experience for everyone. You can make the difference.”
-Werner Erhard 1971
“While no one wants to be the first to say it, who each of us is and the fundamental choices each of us makes in life seem to matter very little.
“Even acts of great courage and intelligence, while admirable and even inspiring, exist in sharp contrast to the apparent unworkability of the world at large. Our greatest technical achievement, walking on the moon, while galvanizing the world for a moment, did not fundamentally alter people’s experience of their ability to make a difference in their lives and in the world.
“Sometime around now – it may have happened five years ago or 50 years ago – but sometime around now, the rules for living successfully on earth shifted, and an opportunity, unseen before, began to reveal itself.
“This opportunity is a context – a particular space or paradigm, a way of being – which unexpectedly creates the possibility for a person’s life to truly make a difference.
“In this context, the way each of us answers the question, “What is my life really going to be about?” can literally alter the course of humanity.
“The possibility to create the context in which people’s lives really matter is undoubtedly the most profound opportunity available to anyone, ever.”
“Rather than trying to find our true selves – struggling to figure out “who we are” – in transformation, we bring forth the possibility of creating ourselves, so that life is a creative expression of our stand.
“Transformation does not increase or improve the options we have before us. Rather, in the moment of transformation, there is the presence of choice, as the phenomenon of creating possibilities – no more, no less. The actual choosing remains of our own making – no more likely, nor guaranteed. Yet, in the recognition and ownership of the choice appears true freedom of action – an action born solely of the courage to be.”
“The Hunger Project came about through something that Werner Erhard thought about for many years. He studied the subject and discovered that it lived inside of a condition of inevitability, that we human beings held hungar as inevitable. It would always be there. It always has. Isn’t it tragic, isn’t it too bad, and let’s make gestures toward it. A little bit the way that make gestures toward victims of an earthquake or a tidal wave, which helps in the short-term but allows the condition to persist. So Where Erhard wrote something called The Hunger Project source document, which had all the underpinnings of the philosophy of The Hunger Project: That number one the individual makes a difference. That only an individual can take a stand. Only an individual can lead a committed life. An organization or an entity or an institution can reflect an individual’s commitment, but it itself doesn’t take a stand. So the individual truly is the key to causing global change.”
–Catherine Parrish, Former CEO of the Hunger Project US and executive director of PRASAD (Philanthropic Relief, Altruistic Service and Development)
By Werner Erhard, March 21, 1983
Your power is a function of velocity, that is to say, your power is a function of the rate at which you translate intention into reality. Most of us disempower ourselves by finding a way to slow, impede, or make more complex than necessary the process of translating intention into reality.
There are two factors worth examining in our impairing velocity, in our disempowering ourselves.
The first is the domain of reasonableness. When we deal with our intentions or act to realize our intentions from reasonableness, we are in the realm of slow, impede and complicate. When we are oriented around the story or the narrative, the explanations, the justifications, we are oriented around that in which there is no velocity, no power.
Results are black and white. In life, one either has results (one’s intentions realized) or one has the reason, story, explanations, and justifications. The person of power does not deal in explanations. This way of being might be termed management by results (not management for results but management by results). The person of power manages him or herself by results and creates a space or mood of results in which to interact with others.
The other factor to be addressed is time. Now never seems to be the right time to act. The right time is always in the future. Usually this appears in the guise of “after I (or we) do so and so, then it will be the right time to act”; or “after so and so occurs, then it will be the right time to act”; or “when so and so occurs, then it will be the right time to act.” The guise includes “gathering all the facts,” “getting the plan down,” “figuring out ‘X’,” “getting ready,” etc.
Since now is the only time you have in reality and now will never seem to be the right time to act, one may as well act now. Even though “it isn’t the right time,” given that the “right time” will never come, acting now is, at the least, powerful (even if you don’t get to be right). Most people wait for the decisive moment, whereas people of power are decisive in the moment. – Werner Erhard
“If you seriously examine any action, you find there are always two sides of it: the side from which you can explain it and the side from which you can produce it. After a recent two-day rise in the stock market, for example, I read an article that masterfully described that rise, analyzed it, and explained it. However, even though I now fully understand what happened, I am not going to bet my life savings on my ability to predict the next one.
In individual and organizational performance, most of us attempt to produce action by working in the after-the-fact realm of description, analysis, explanation, and prescription. Rarely do we consider that producing an action requires a whole different way of looking at it. If you want to have a dramatic impact on performance, you need access to the source of action.”
A spectator can describe what I’m doing on the tennis court. He is living in the realm of evaluation and explanation – but I’m playing in the world of action. While there is a relationship between his description and what is occurring on the court, the two are clearly not the same.
We seldom think about this sort of distinction, but “failing to make this simple distinction can lead to being satisfied with an explanation about action and may hide from our view the source of action,”
-Quoted in Industry Week, June 15 1987, By Perry Pascarella
“In the course of the training it became progressively clear to me that the experience underlying the training and the conceptualization of this experience have deep affinities with the phenomena presented and analyzed in Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time.”
“…It is directly manifest in the training that est embodies a powerful and coherent truth which transforms the quality of the lives of those who experience it. Moreover, this truth contains radically new insights into the nature of human beings.” From “Assessment of the Philosophical Significance of The est Training” by Hubert Dreyfus
“Usually, we think of possibility as options. While this is in some sense true, possibility also exists on a deeper level of abstraction—a level which actually defines which options are permissible. So, to bring forth possibility is to bring forth a domain in which new options become possible. It is not simply finding new options within the same range of options; it actually produces whole new ranges of options. It is actually the bringing forth of possibility itself. It is a distinctly human act, far more human than simply choosing between the options with which one is presented. It is the act of bringing forth whole ranges of options, options with which you were not presented and yet which you caused to be.
In our work, we associate this deeper notion of possibility with creativity. Possibility shows up as an act of creation, as bringing forth. This also exists only in the domain of Being.
At its heart, our work is the opening up, the bringing forth of a new domain of possibility for people.”
-Werner Erhard http://www.wernererhard.net/revision.html
“I’ve had the opportunity and the privilege to count some great men and women among my friends. They all have the same problem: they cannot get their students to be masters as they are—even students with all the intellectual equipment you can imagine. I tell them that the reason why they can’t turn their students into masters is that they are fibbing to themselves about the source of their own mastery. They attribute their own mastery to everything other than its actual source: creation. Creating and Being exist in the same domain. And there is a discipline to Being, to creation. The domain of Being has its own rigor; Being is approachable, it is masterable; it’s not nebulous.”
– Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business Administration and Founding Chairman of The Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California.
“I could always tell when an organization was in good shape. I could tell because the manager of the organization would always be talking about how great the people in the organization were. If the manager was talking about anything other than how great people in the organization were, I knew that the organization was in bad shape. The way to manage an organization successfully is to manage it in such a way that you can be proud of the people with whom you are working. You have to find a way to interact with the people with whom you are working in a way that makes you proud of them.”
“In life you wind up with one of two things – the results or the reason why you don’t have the results. Results don’t have to be explained. They just are.”
Your power is a function of velocity, that is to say, your power is a function of the rate at which you translate intention into reality. Most of us dis-empower ourselves by finding a way to slow, impede, or make more complex than necessary the process of translating intention into reality.
We can discover another possibility: living in a way, now, moment to moment, that makes a difference to life. We discover that as human beings we can live in a possibility instead of in what we have inherited, that instead of just being a human being because we were born that way, we can declare the possibility of being for human beings. This is the work of transformation: bringing forth a breakthrough in the possibility of being human.
“Since now is the only time you have in reality and now will never seem to be the right time to act, one may as well act now. Even though “it isn’t the right time,” given that the “right time” will never come, acting now is, at the least, powerful (even if you don’t get to be right). Most people wait for the decisive moment, whereas people of power are decisive in the moment.”