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


Ten Pin Bowling

Calistoga, California, USA

June 29, 2006



At some point in my life I stopped resisting problems. I can't say exactly when that happened. However, when it happened it wasn't a sudden  change. Rather, the shift in me happened gradually, so gradually that for while no one, including me, knew anything was happening.

There was a time when something which wasn't on track, which was a counter current, an interference  to what I was up to would show up like an upset ie problematic  for me. Lately I've noticed when things like that happen they occur simply as things which call out to be handled. They require my attention. They're not distractions taking my attention off what I need to be doing - rather, they are what I need to be doing.

It's not that I can avoid problems entirely. No one can. Arguably in the nature of being human, it's just not possible.

Having said that, when problems occur they can occur as distractions to the real business at hand, or they can occur as the business at hand. So when problematic events occur I pretend I'm in a kind of bowling alley. Lining problems straight up like ten pins, hauling back I bowl the ball and see if I can knock 'em all down. Now I have an opportunity to include problems in the fabric of my life, to incorporate them into what's so  rather than them distracting me from what's so. Now there's even a new possibility in managing problems: the possibility of measured excellence. There's even fun in it now.

As I haul back the bowling ball, my fingers and thumb locked in its grip holes, intently looking for the best line down the alley for the sideways inward swerve to impact the pins with maximum surface strike area, the voice in my head tells me: "Shake hands  with the ball as you let it go. Shake hands with the ball ...".

As I release the ball I take stock of where I'm coming from. Am I coming from calm? Am I coming from already success? Or am I coming from a wobbly and uninspired "Gee, I hope  I get one or two ..."?

The thing about knocking down problems is it's the same as knocking down ten pins:

1)  if it's not fun, they've already won;

2)  no matter how bad the situation is, you can choose to make it a game;

3)  you can only knock 'em down if you've got the balls to do it.

You've only got the life you got and no other. You can take what you got, whatever it is, and live it well. Living well may not necessarily mean having no problems. Having no problems at all is almost never an option. But what it might mean is choosing to handle well what you got, whatever that is, just because that's what you got - for no other reason.

So problems are lined up like ten pins at a bowling alley and, with great gusto and verve, you get to knock 'em down, which is to say deal with them with alacrity and fun; in other words, as opportunities rather than as predicaments.



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