You may have read about Werner Erhard’s butler, and how he discovered that, putting the cap back on the toothpaste, he was building something bigger than just doing his job. You may have seen that the joy returned to the butler’s work, and his life was suddenly a huge contribution… That is: see it until the next time he gets annoyed, angry… and then he can do it again.
Do what? Ask the question repeatedly: what are you building with that?
Let’s see what happens when I do this exercise with my ‘core’ students.
This is exactly how the exercise goes: there are two people. I ask the questions….
My (B) job is to ask the question, What project are you working on? And when I get the answer, ask: ‘What are you building with that?’ repeatedly aiming that inspiration we saw Werner Erhard’ butler had.
No changing, no embellishing, just asking that. Word by word. Do not get creative with that.
The speaker’s (A) job is to pick one of their small projects, like driving me to the post office. Or washing the dishes. Or canceling a subscription. A todo list type of project, nothing big.
Not a complicated one, like: you want to become a published author, if you have never had anything published. That is not a project, that is pie in the sky, daydreaming, never going to happen type of dream that you justify with not doing anything with your life.
Once (A) states his project, there is no more conversation. No embellishing, no justification, no explaining. Just the project: I will do this by then… what he says he would do by when.
Something like this: My project is: I will mail those energy remedies to the clients by tomorrow afternoon.
Then (B) says: OK, great. What are you building with that?
(A) answers with what he sees becomes possible as a result of accomplishing the project.
(B) says: OK, great. What are you building with that?
And this goes until (A) is moved, inspired by what he sees, or alternatively digs himself in a deep hole so there is nowhere to go.
When it all goes well, the result is much like the butler’s life: inspiration.
When you are the person with the project, it probably (70% certainly) will go the way it went in class with all four of my students.
What can go wrong? And how? It looks so easy, but although it is easy, it doesn’t work for 70% of everyone.
We saw two kinds of things we didn’t want to see, didn’t set out to see today: dead ends.
- Dead end 1. You talk about increased capacities, capabilities, or skills as a result. Nothing else happens: you become a more capable caterpillar. The context of life remains the same, you are still a person who will never commit to an action. No butterfly is born.
You’ll see that the whole process, your whole life is about you: there is no room for inspiration or happiness there: you will be a skilled caterpillar: skilled but wretched. It didn’t even occur for you to look outside of yourself to see what you are building. So you are building nothing.
- Dead end 2. You talk about an action, like writing a book. With some coaching you may even see that you won’t start with a book, maybe you’ll start with an article, and then get published. Then a few more published, and then a book…
When I ask what you are building with that book, you say: another book.
…and you never considered that the only reason to write a book is to make a difference, the ultimate core desire for any human, including you.
A book written for your own gratification, so you can say ‘I am a published author’ will never be written, or if it does, it will keep you more of the same.
- Dead end 1 will never do anything, because they will never take a risk of actually doing anything,
- Dead end 2 won’t do anything because they are all about themselves, so they can’t be inspired.
- There are more ways to not get anything out of this exercise 🙁
So, even though this is one of the most inspiring exercises known to man, the majority of you will not get inspired, because anything that is about yourself is not inspiring to you.
Inspiration comes from going outside of yourself, beyond yourself.
Werner Erhard said that every single human is like an onion: when you peel off the layers, what you’ll find there is the desire to make a difference. The desire to make a contribution. The desire to matter.
When that desire is blocked, people have two possible paths:
- 1. forever teenager: let’s have fun
- 2. become a criminal.
My group is not criminals, so their path is the first: forever teenager. Immature, just wants fun.
But, let’s ask the crucial question: are these people happy? Fulfilled? Exuberant and happy?
No, they are miserable. Every.one.of.them.
Let’s also see what blocked their desire to contribute? Was it their parents, their teachers, their peers? Not really. A strong desire cannot be blocked.
I can’t, I am too ugly, too stupid, too slow. Worthless, useless, not wanted, not needed, not enough.
And then they have been honoring that decision, and suppressing their innate desire to contribute to the degree that even in an exercise like this it cannot surface.
The interesting thing is that when you ask them what they want for the world, they have politically correct things to say: world peace, happiness, world transformation.
But when you ask them in the context of their life, their projects, the truth comes out: they care nothing about anything beyond themselves.
So if you find that you are one of these people, what is there to do?
I mean, I can give you liters of the energy remedy, you can come to all my classes, and listen to each replay till your ears fall off: as long as you remain about yourself, for yourself, you are going to remain a wretch.
To the degree you are all about yourself to the same degree you are a wretched person… and that is the truth, no question about it.
Nothing is going to change what you say about yourself to justify that you can’t? Won’t. Can a remedy, an activator, a meditation change what you say?
No. None of those can.
Can you change your mind? Not really.
So what can you do? You have a dominant belief of yourself… and you are tied to it like a dog to a stick…
You feel a need to fix the dominant desire, and you keep doing things to fix it but they all make it deeper and more restricting.
The ‘need’ to fix it acts like the tail that wags the dog.
- If you said you were useless, you’ve been ‘needing’ to prove that you are useful, that whoever said you were useless was wrong.
- If you said ‘I can’t have what I want’ you’ll take what you can, probably with fraud, probably with deception, because earning it will not appeal to you.
- Maybe you said ‘I am not lovable’ then you’ll shack up with all kinds, suffering that they don’t love you… You won’t see that you are used…
Underneath every dominant belief there is a set of actions that perpetuate the belief: we call these payoffs.
No one does something without a direct ‘benefit’ for themselves. These payoffs are what keep the belief in place.
What are the payoffs that you can have?
We have found that
- justifying yourself,
- making someone wrong,
- being right about how you are,
- trying to win,
- avoiding domination, and
- avoiding responsibility (victim) are the main moves.
Find YOUR main move to keep yourself the same in the above sentence and start OBSERVING YOURSELF going for that payoff.
Notice that the payoff didn’t get you what you really wanted: a good life, loving yourself, none of that.
But in my experience 100% of the people who try ‘not to do’ the action the payoff moves them to do, fail on the long run.
Why? Because of an unknown energetic cord or chain that ties you to a doom that is the natural consequence of your dominant belief.
I call that your ‘anchor to doom’ and it does behave exactly like an energetic attachment another person can throw at you, a ‘healer’, a witch, a bad person.
And only if and when you stop being chained to that doom that you can actually stop perpetuating your behavior of going for the payoff.
You can stop making people wrong, judging people, beating yourself up, being right about how wrong you are, how wrong they are, how wrong it is… and actually start doing something for yourself and your life.
Once you alter your behavior enough times, you start having some elbow-room to be different. To consider making a contribution with your life.
And then you can start removing yourself from caterpillar state and start climbing the Tree of Life. Not before.
Of course you have also amassed a ton of mistakes, unfinished jobs, unfulfilled promises in your life… so you have to deal with those…
Even if I pull your anchor to doom, if you don’t start handling your unfinished jobs, unfulfilled promises, failed projects, etc. you’ll still have enough justification for your dominant belief, and will continue circling the doom, even though there won’t be anything physical to keep you there… after all I have pulled your anchor, I have pulled your anchor to the doom…
So because these, unfinished projects and dominant belief are so intimately connected, I recommend that you get your anchor to doom pulled and at the same time start cleaning up your integrity.
My suggestion is that you do that at the same time. And when you have done that… you will be able to go beyond where you have been able to go… and create a context larger than yourself or your needs. You’ll start living a life with joy and enthusiasm.
Get your anchor to doom pulled and maybe also get the integrity workshop?
They will enable you to do so… Will you do it? It is entirely up to you. Up to you being willing to do so.