I’ve been spending a lot of time watching videos with Ricky Gervais, a funnyman.
I take notes… because he is not just funny, he is arguably one of the most intelligent people I can watch.
So here is one of the things I jotted down as he was talking to Richard Dawkins.
He said: people try and give ideas human rights so you leave them alone. That’s what dogma does. You don’t have to (respect ideas’ human rights…). You can ridicule ideas without hurting anyone.
A man after my own heart…
On another note: One of the most important distinctions is the distinction of ‘having’. Like: do you have that idea, or that idea has you?
People want control… but they would be better off wanting to ‘have’.
For reasons that I can’t even begin to understand, humans, homo sapiens create something in their head, or even in the outside, and then allow that thing to control them, to have them, to run their lives.
Except, of course, the items they expressly buy or install to control them.
I just had a brief interaction with a woman who told me that she doesn’t like todo lists, doesn’t like calendars, doesn’t like anything to control her life.
Result: things falling through the cracks, no integrity, no discipline, no order, no power, no money, no life.
Things that she creates, randomly own her, rob her of clarity, time, productivity, and rob her of a life she can love.
By sheer luck I hit on paydirt the other day.
I took Kristof, the experimental client and myself through the paces.
He didn’t get it, but I did, in spades.
When I was a child, my parents treated me as a ‘good for nothing’, a ‘never do well’.
I swore that one day they would regret it. That I would show it to them. That I would become famous, a national treasure, appear on national television, slim, elegant, and respected… blah blah blah
I never considered that a big deal: I wanted to finally make my parents proud of me… even though they’ve been dead for decades.
But in that call with Kristof I suddenly saw something really important… and don’t worry, I’ll take it back to the no todo list client’s issue.
I had known for at least three decades that life always has a backdrop, a canvas that has all the thing we have said… and the foreground is defined by it.
- If the backdrop says that you are brilliant, then the foreground suddenly changes into activities that belong to brilliant people…
- If the backdrop says that you are a ‘never do well’ then even if you have a moment of success, you’ll know it won’t last.
But I got a new wrinkle in that backdrop theory two days ago: in the darkest moment of your childhood, when they considered you nothing, or worse, you vowed that the future will be different. That one day some day you’ll show it to them. In the face of all the odds. In the face of their opinion of you, their treatment of you.
You’ll be filthy rich, you’ll be famous, you’ll be celebrated, loved, blah blah blah.
And to your detriment, that is recorded on the backdrop… And today, no matter what you are doing, you are doing it in front of that big audacious vow… and no matter who you are, no matter what you do, you are not even close to achieving, or even action on that ‘future’.
You are not doing what would make you famous, celebrated, loved, whatever. In fact what you seem to be doing is the exact opposite of that.
So do you HAVE that vow, or the vow has you?
If you answered that the vow has you, you are right. It has you by the short hairs.
But it has even another wrinkle: it has you such that…
…you are not free to do what it would take to do what the vow declares.
You’ll do the exact opposite, and not understand why the heck you are not doing what you know to do.
You feel like a dog wagged by the tail… and guess what? You are.
On one hand you consider your original vow a goal… a goal that gives meaning to your life. Something you are striving to attain.
On the other hand you are afraid that if you did the actions that take you there, and you fail, you’ll lose the meaning you now have.
So you sabotage yourself.
And that vow is happy: it has all the power. You are a puppy, and you can be wagged, and beaten up, beaten to a pulp… And if you listen in, you can hear the Dark Side chuckle.
You say the bad things about yourself: ‘I can’t do anything right‘, ‘I have no discipline‘, ‘I never follow up‘, ‘I don’t finish what I start‘, ‘I lie‘, but until we look at the backdrop, until we look at what you said when others said you were worthless, or something to that effect, we won’t be able to see the dynamic that makes it obvious that you HAVE TO behave the way you do.
You see, context, whether it is distinguished or not, is decisive.
The actions in the foreground, what we call life, have to relate to the backdrop, the context, in a specific way. Confirm it or negate it.
The vow you made as a child is part of your default context… the deepest and most potent layer, and as long as it is there, there is no escape.
Even if and when someone gets close to accomplishing the vow… they have to destroy it.
Drinking, drugs, reckless behavior, impropriety, divorces, overeating.
I know many people who have done that. About 10%. And an army of people who have never attained anything…
It depends on the severity of the original incident, or more precisely on what you said about it.
So what am I saying? Am I saying that you are screwed?
You have been screwed, that is for sure. But do you need to continue being screwed?
What did I do?
I looked at that vow I made to myself about getting famous, blah blah blah. And I renounced it. I said:
I no longer want that. And I am happy to just live a life of a normal person who doesn’t want to be famous, or anything. Do my work.
And I let that pipe dream go.
Now, I admit that it is easier for me than it is for you. I don’t have much life left. And it is not likely that even if I summoned all my powers, that I could attain that in the time I have for myself. The gap is too wide.
If you are younger, you hope that that gap will guide you and keep you motivated.
But alas, it works the exact opposite way.
I am an architect. I trained for seven years and I worked for 17.
The reason people build with a blueprint instead of building from a vision of a building is the same reason your ‘vow’ is now disabling you.
Building anything is a ‘place a brick on top of another brick’ type of activity… there are no shortcuts.
In your mind there are shortcuts, but not in reality.
In reality you always have to look where things are, and then do the next thing.
But having that picture of the glorious future suggests that you can jump. That magically you’ll be transported to there.
And every action you take in reality feels pedestrian, and feels that it won’t take you there.
If there is a design to the human condition, then it was done by the Dark Side.
The design where what you are doing feels meaningless when you compare it to the glorious backdrop is cruel and unusual punishment, even if every single person lives in that design.
Since I let go of that glorious image of myself I have been experiencing peace, no hurry. No having to, needing to, wanting to and no should. I have been content. Maybe even happy? Definitely joyous.
For the first time in my life.
And I don’t feel like a fake, a loser, a ‘never do well’.
I have accomplished what I have accomplished, neither more, nor less. I am OK. If I want more, I’ll do more.
And that feels fabulous. And I want this for you.
And I want this for the woman who doesn’t want to be restrained by todo lists and calendars…
The workshop will be this coming Saturday. If I need to set up more dates, I will.
Now, caveat… I can’t guarantee that you’ll let go of the ‘vow’… and become free. You have to do it.
I can help you see what is the tail that has been wagging you… but you have to choose between freedom or slavery. I cannot choose for you.
Some of you will, and some of you probably won’t.
The more of my programs you’ve done, the more distinctions you’ve mastered, the more advanced you are, the easier it will be for you.
But once you know what is keeping you down, you can grow your knowledge, and let go of the vow when you get ready.
It can take time. Nothing is instant in reality… everything is a process. And processes take time.
I’ll have the workshop on Saturday at 11 am my time. That is Eastern Standard Time. 4 pm in the British Isles. 5 pm in most of Europe, 8 am in California.
Schedule three hours. Make sure you have a working microphone.
You won’t need a camera. You’ll need some paper to take notes on. And water to hydrate.
Backdrop… what is keeping you hostage?