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

Sweet Spot

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

February 4, 2011

This essay, Sweet Spot, is the companion piece to A Transformed Way Of Living.

Typically when I'm speaking about the "sweet spot", I'm speaking about sports.

As a boy, I attended SACS (for those of you unfamiliar with the acronym, it stands for South African College School), the oldest and most prestigious school in South Africa. In those days, the Union  of South Africa as it was known, was still effectively a British Colony. The sports we played at school were British: cricket and tennis in summer, rugby and field hockey (which I preferred to rugby) in winter. And I surfed year round. The waves were actually glassier  in winter when the wind blew "offshore"  from the north.

In all five of these sports you'll find the concept of the sweet spot. In cricket, you know  you've hit the sweet spot when you late cut  the ball and there's no reverberation from the bat in your hands as the ball streaks to the boundary. In tennis, you know you've hit the sweet spot when you return with an overhead smash and the racquet doesn't spin in your grip as the ball whizzes out of reach of your opponent, touching down unreachably, inches before the base line. In rugby, the sweet spot in, say, drop kicking  is a combination of three things really: the ball hitting the ground exactly on its point, the trajectory of your foot coming in at just the right angle, and your foot kicking the ball at the exact same moment  the ball hits the ground. When all three work together, it's perfect and there's nothing like it. In field hockey, you know you've hit the sweet spot when you take a shot at goal, and there's barely a click  as your stick drives the ball into the back of the goal box in such a straight line it could have been set with a laser.

Playing in the inside left  position (we called it "left inner")  in the forward line, I scored an average of one goal for every game our team played. One of my most favorite sweet spot goals I scored in field hockey drove so straight and so hard into the goal box that it broke clean through the wood backing of the goal box and exploded out the other side. The referee (our coach David Alan Norton whom we called "Dan") stopped dead in his tracks. His whistle fell out of his mouth. All he said was ... "Whoa!"  ...

True story.

And then of course there's the sweet spot in surfing. The sweet spot in surfing is a combination of two things: where you're standing on your surfboard, and where your surfboard is positioned on your wave. When you're standing close to the nose, preferably with one or both  feet dangling over the front ie "hanging five"  or "hanging ten"  while your wave is just beginning to feather its curl over the back of your surfboard effectively bolting you in place for the ride of your life, arguably there's no sweeter spot anywhere. In fact, arguably there's nothing  sweeter anywhere. Nothing!

That's sport. These are just games  we play. And we play each of these games inside of a much bigger context  which we call Life. It could be said one of the reasons we're attracted to sport, it could be said one of the reasons we're attracted to play games inside of the much bigger context which we call Life is because of the allure  of their sweet spots, because of the attraction  to playing games in their sweet spots.


I could also say "because of the distraction of  playing games in their sweet spots". But that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion.


When all is said and done, what I've discovered is this: the sweet spot in Life, the sweet spot in Life as opposed to the sweet spot in all the games I play, the sweet spot in the context for all the games I play, and therefore the sweet spot for all the games I play  is who I really am - not like some cosmic spirit  (which is not to denigrate the cosmic spirit), not like a soul  (with due respect, I'm not talking about it this time), not even like the abstract Self (which is a subject for another conversation on another occasion), but rather like a regular guy, rather just like an ordinary Joe, rather like just another dude.

When you speak transformation, it rocks me. But when you show up like a regular guy, that's the home run straight from the sweet spot. That's when I get the most for my life and for Life itself. That's when I love you the most.

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