Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

From Leadership To Mastery:

Introducing The Mastery Course

Browns Valley Yogurt and Espresso Bar, California, USA

December 24, 2017

"You will leave this course being a leader and exercising leadership as your natural Self-expression in any situation and no matter what the circumstances."
...   promising the Leadership Course: Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological / Phenomenological Model 
"Here's my view: there's nothing  I want people to learn from me. It's what you discover for yourself that makes it powerful."
...   discussing compassion with Dr James Doty at Stanford University between presentations of the Leadership Course in Cancun, Mexico and the Mastery Course in New York 
"There are certain people who seem to be extraordinarily effective in dealing with life and at the same time enjoy an exceptionally high quality of life. Most of us believe that there is something extra special about such people - that is, there is something extra special about people who seem to have mastered life. However, while innately ordinary, masters of life do see life and make sense of life differently than most of us do. And it is this unique way that they see (perceive) life and make sense of (comprehend) life that leaves them interacting with life as a master - that is, naturally being extraordinarily effective while enjoying an exceptionally high quality of life."
...   introducing the Mastery Course: Being a Master of Life: What It Takes
This essay, From Leadership To Mastery: Introducing The Mastery Course, is the companion piece to Content, Presentation, Life: Components Of Mastery.

It is also the prequel to Further Down The Road.

I am indebted to Josh Cohen who contributed material for this conversation.

I recently completed the Leadership Course with Werner in Cancun, Mexico in October / November of 2017. It's an extraordinary course. To be sure, you'll hear "It's extraordinary"  a lot  from people who've completed the Leadership Course - indeed, you'll hear it a lot from people who've completed any of Werner's programs. So I'm requesting you listen me say "It's extraordinary" like I've never said it before. But more than that, I'm requesting you listen me say "It's extraordinary" like you've  never listened  it before.

That distinction is really the gist of what this conversation will eventually pivot on. This conversation isn't about me saying (again) the Leadership Course (or any of Werner's programs for that matter) are extraordinary (which they are). Rather it's about distinguishing listening like you've never listened before. Interimly, listening like I've never listened before, is an antidote to the tranquilized obviousness  which permeates our lives like a rampant deadly virus killing off any possibility of you and me living lives that are open and joyful and creative and fresh and new and free. Ultimately, listening like I've never listened before, creates an opening in which the possibility of mastery can show up. That's the theme ie the motif  of this conversation.

My writing on the Leadership Course is now fait accompli  (for the time being at least). I've delivered eight essays in the Leadership Course group. So what's next? Here it is: this conversation introduces Werner's new Mastery Course. And here's the thing: I want to be clear  with you that I don't know what it's about. I know nothing  about it. I haven't done it (no one has: it's new). And I notice I'm already listening "mastery"  like I know what it is. I see that's typically what I do with most of my life: I listen for new opportunities (which is a healthy outlook). But when I listen for them, where I'm coming from is I already know what they'll be  (and we all know how well that  works, right?).

That said, there are three things I do know about the Mastery Course. One is that the course is in its developmental stage. This means it's at the stage where it has a workable, deliverable form. And it can now be further developed as it's presented. In this way, it could be said that the Mastery Course is the laboratory in which the Mastery Course is being tried out ie it's the track on which it's being test-driven. It could also be said (another analogy I like better) that the Mastery Course is the sculptor's studio in which the Mastery Course is being sculpted out of the marble (or, to paraphrase Michelangelo, the Mastery Course is the sculptor's studio in which the excess marble is being shaved away, revealing the Mastery Course already whole and complete within the slab).

Another thing I know about the Mastery Course is its first offering was co-led by Werner and Dr Joseph DiMaggio in New York in April of 2018. In my premature, naïve conversations about it, I was pegging it as the "sequel"  to the Leadership Course ... until I caught myself doing that. So I want to be straight with you: I don't know  if it's true that it's the sequel to the Leadership Course, or not. My already always listening  designates a magnum opus  which follows a previous magnum opus by the same composer as its sequel  - like Back to the Future II  is the sequel to Back to the Future, like Beethoven's ninth symphony is the sequel to his eighth, like Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band  is the sequel to Revolver.

How-ever  ... in the world of transformation, that may not be the case at all. For all I know, Werner developed the Leadership Course and the Mastery Course discontiguously in parallel. On a linear timeline, yes the delivery of one thing follows the other. But to think of mastery  the abstract, as the sequel  to leadership the abstract? ... well no, it could easily be the other way around, yes? I just don't know. I'll ask Werner* soon.

Another thing I know about the Mastery Course is there's an enormous listening already present for it in the world - indeed there is for all of Werner's work. Look: I intended to make an announcement when registration for it was opened. When I make announcements in these Conversations For Transformation pertaining to Werner's work, they reach around two thousand people worldwide in a single burst. So it's crucial  I first request and am granted all the right clearances and all the right confidences and all the right permissions before I proceed. Without them, the integrity of anything I do in this regard would be totally shot. In talking with all the appropriate people, it was decided that there would first be an official public announcement, which would trigger my go-ahead to make my own announcement.

Neither of those announcements were ever made. We had no time. The entire Mastery Course filled up and sold out within days  (possibly within hours)  by word of mouth alone. That's the power of Werner's work (actually that's the power of Werner's word). That's the draw  of what he offers. So any announcements we would have made would have been for an already full  the course, ensuring that anyone attempting to register to participate in it, was guaranteed  to be disappointed - not something we're keen to stand for. Eventually an official public announcement was  made to introduce the Mastery Course to everyone. It's coverage included a statement that the course was full and closed to new registrations. It also stated that developing it further and making it widely available, is now being considered.

OK, I said there were three things I know about the Mastery Course. But there's actually one more  thing I know about it, and it's this: although its scheduled next for London in November of 2019, it's already begun. What does that mean, Laurence: "... although it's scheduled for London in November of 2019, it's already begun"?

In and around Werner's work, it's often observed a course begins when you register for it. I'd like to extrapolate that back even further in time, and propose this: a course begins like a possibility  when you first hear about it  ie when you listen someone speaking it for you for the first time. What's now present in the space is an unanswered question - and that unanswered question is "Well ... what is  mastery?". The distinction mastery, now released into the public conversational domain like an unanswered question, will become its own generator. And now that you're being directed by the unanswered question "What is mastery?" and now that you're asking it like you've never asked it before, and now that you're listening  it like you've never listened it before, Congratulations!: your Mastery Course has begun.

Here's the link for the next Mastery Course in London in November of 2019:
The Mastery Course: Being a Master of Life: What It Takes

* Discontiguous with the writing of this essay, I did ask Werner. I asked:

"Am I accurate in describing the upcoming Mastery Course ("Being a Master of Life: What It Takes" - New York, April 2018) as the next iteration of your work after (ie as the sequel to) the Leadership Course? If not, how should I introduce it?"

Each iteration of Werner's work (of which there've been a veritable plethora over the five decades since its inception following his fateful experience out-of-time  on the Golden Gate Bridge) clearly draws on and leverages the experience discovered in previous iterations. But if that were the only  model accounting for subsequent iterations, it would leave no room for something totally new  to show up. And even my modest familiarity with transformation informs me that truly transformational work, is more likely to fall into the latter category than the former.

With the next public offering of the Mastery Course coming up soon in New York, I'm wondering in which of those two categories it will occur.




I could say "I told you so, Laurence!" ... but I won't.

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