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“Talking about transformation is no more than a representation, an image of the real thing. It’s like eating the menu instead of the steak – neither nurturing nor profound. It is in being transformed – in being authentically true to oneself – that one lives passionately free, unencumbered, fearless, committed. It is in living life in a transformed way that the steak and its sizzle show up.”
“Sometime around now – it may have happened five years ago or fifty years ago – but sometime around now, the rules for living successfully on this planet shifted. We can no longer hope to live meaningful, purposeful lives using the rules of a you or me world. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to those who will look that in order to live successfully on this planet, we must discover and live by the rules of you and me.” – Werner Erhard
“To take a stand for the future is to bring forth a new opportunity, not one derived from the past, but an opportunity created from a future to which we give ourselves.”
- Werner Erhard
You and I want our lives to matter. We want our lives to make a real difference — to be of genuine consequence in the world. We know that there is no satisfaction in merely going through the motions in life, even if those motions make us successful or even if we have arranged to make those motions pleasant. We want to know we have had some impact on the world. In fact, you and I want to contribute to the quality of life. We want to make the world work.
“You’ve got to be with your self uninterruptedly for a long time. And that’s an experience which you and I don’t afford ourselves very often. You know, we stop for a cigarette, we stop to make conversation, we stop to divert our selves, to entertain ourselves. But, during this 60 hours [of the est Training], you really get to look deep down inside your self.”–Werner Erhard, 1976
“For several years before his latest professional reincarnation, Mr. Erhard consulted for businesses and government agencies like the Russian adult-education program the Znaniye Society and a nonprofit organization supporting clergy in Ireland.
Enter the Harvard economist Michael Jensen. Dr. Jensen, who is famous in financial circles for championing the concepts of shareholder value and executive stock options, had taken a Landmark course in Boston at the suggestion of his daughter, who mended a rocky relationship with Dr. Jensen after taking the course herself.
“‘I became convinced we should work to get this kind of transformational material into the academies,’ he said, adding that he considers Mr. Erhard “one of the great intellectuals of the century.'” – Peter Haldeman writing about Werner Erhard in The New York Times
Anything you grant being to grants you being.
Erhard, W., Jensen, M., and Zaffron, S. (2015). Introductory Reading for Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model. Harvard Business School Negotiation, Organizations, and Market Research Papers
“When my integrity is lacking, I am clear that I just got to be a bit smaller as a person. That keeps me working on my integrity. And the thing about integrity is it’s a mountain with no top.”
-Werner Erhard in The New York Times
“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.”
“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.”
CHICAGO TRIBUNE, November 21, 1988
By WERNER ERHARD
THE HEIGHT OF the traditional famine season in Ethiopia has come and gone. Yet in a year in which the devastation of drought and war have left millions without a harvest, there has been no mass starvation, no horror pictures like those which shocked the world in 1985. This year, thanks to an extraordinary cooperative effort of governments, private voluntary organizations and the Ethiopian people, there will be no famine.
For most people, the news of this remarkable accomplishment comes as a surprise. There have been reports of war, corruption, failure and occasional break-downs in the relief operation. But little has been heard about the thousands of times the operation worked. The focus on isolated incidents rather than on the whole picture has dramatically distorted the public perception of the situation.
IN THE ORDINARY COURSE of events it is easy to assume that geopolitics and political ideology forma barrier to effective humanitarian assistance. Here, the United States, the U.S.S.R., Ethiopia and many others, working under the leadership of the United Nations, managed to pull together in spite of their very real differences, not merely to react to a widely publicized disaster as they have before, but to keep the disaster from happening in the first place.
Our images of the Ethiopian people also fail to reflect reality. We think about the people of Ethiopia in terms of the television pictures of 1985: pathetic, helpless victims, sitting on barren plain, waiting for rescue or death. We certainly don’t see them as the key players in the relief effort —the people who carry the lion’s share of the burden for the campaign to avert the famine. The women, children and men of Ethiopia — the people whose lives are at risk — are people whose courage, hard work and determination to stay on their land, to care for their families, to make it through the lean times, are virtually unknown to us.
WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT learning lessons from our failures, but equally important is the need to learn from our successes. Most of us cloak ourselves in a sophisticated air of resignation called “hard realism” which does not allow us to see a future better than the present. What is happening this year in Ethiopia is some-thing we can learn from — a demonstration that even in a situation perceived by many as hopeless, genuine accomplishment is possible.
Ethiopia’s problems are by no means over. Its government is far from a model of openness and reform. It remains embroiled in two protracted civil wars. Even when harvests are good, Ethiopia faces substantial food deficits. It remains one of the poorest countries in the world, a place where the persistence of chronic hunger keeps people weak, productivity low, and vulnerability to famine high. And now it must also deal with a new tide of refugees from Sudan and Somalia coming into the country at a rate of nearly 2,000 per day.
WHILE THE PICTURE IS far from rosy, some promising developments are emerging:
• The lessons of the last year are being applied as governments and organizations gear up to meet the new refugee situation before it becomes a spectacle of death.
• The Ethiopian government is con-fronting the need to make the country “famine resistant,” seeking support for a nationwide program of food banks, transportation, rainfall and crop monitoring and labor-intensive projects to build irrigation systems and dams.
• Even more important in the long term, small but real first steps are being taken on the difficult road of agricultural and economic reform.
Nothing will really happen, however, unless there is a demand, and demand for action is generated when people can see both the need to intervene and the chance for a successful outcome. Governments now respond very effectively to famine, because pictures of starving children call forth massive support for quick action. Yet when it comes to development, to addressing the much more complex and frustrating problems of chronic hunger and poverty, they remain mired in the mud, with no sense that anything can be done to actually get things resolved.
When we realize what we have accomplished and are accomplishing, we begin to see new possibilities — new ways to get things done in situations we previously considered with a sense of helplessness, of resignation to the “hard realities.” Even knowing that we do not have all answers, we are stirred to act.
It is then that movement begins, that priorities get shifted and resources reallocated. It is then that our actions go beyond the mere ceremonial, the making of “politically correct” gestures and become forward motion toward real solutions. For people committed to ending the needless persistence of hunger worldwide, the remarkable accomplishment of averting the famine in Ethiopia in 1988 can bring that reality one step closer.
“Integrity (in our model) is not about good or bad, or right or wrong, or what should or should not be.
We distinguish integrity as a phenomenon of the objective state or condition of an object, system, person, group, or organizational entity, and define integrity as: a state or condition of being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, perfect condition.
We assert that integrity (the condition of being whole and complete) is a necessary condition for workability, and that the resultant level of workability determines the available opportunity for performance. Hence, the way we treat integrity in our model provides an unambiguous and actionable access to superior performance (however one wishes to define performance).
For an individual we distinguish integrity as a matter of that person’s word being whole and complete, and for a group or organizational entity as what is said by or on behalf of the group or organization being whole and complete. In that context, we define integrity for an individual, group, or organization as: Honoring one’s word.
Oversimplifying somewhat, honoring your word as we define it means you either keep your word (do what you said you would do and by the time you said you would do it), or as soon as you know that you will not, you say that you will not to those who were counting on your word and clean up any mess caused by not keeping your word.
Honoring your word is also the route to creating whole and complete social and working relationships. In addition, it provides an actionable pathway to earning the trust of others.”
“Consider that all accomplishment is constituted by a series of resolved breakdowns.”
“Leaders do not act from a plan, but plan from their action. The planning is really a conversation which gives other people access to the possibility to which you are committed.”
“You do not have to get there. You cannot get there. You have only to ‘realize’ your self, and, as you do, you are satisfied. Then it is natural and spontaneous to express that in life and share that opportunity with others.”