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

Uncomfortably Shy Yet Strikingly Bold:

A Self Portrait

Frog's Leap, Rutherford, California, USA

March 10, 2012

This essay, Uncomfortably Shy Yet Strikingly Bold: A Self Portrait, is the companion piece to
  1. Fear
  2. Fearless And Street Smart
in that order.

Concept by Laurence Platt

1:11:21pm Saturday March 10, 2012
Self Portrait
Laurence Platt
The fact that I choose not to be stopped by that which can stop me, doesn't mean there's nothing which can stop me.

In this exuberant game I'm playing called generating my own life, there are no guarantees the mood I wake up into in the morning is consistent with the way I want living my life to look. Given the nature of human being, the mood I wake up into in the morning, isn't reliable. From the moment I wake up, the day is a blank canvas to be painted newly and ongoingly. Unfortunately yesterday's successes don't guarantee today's good moods.

Bad or good, the mood I wake up into, is machine generated. If it's a mood it's a mood. It makes no difference if it's a bad mood or if it's a good mood. A mood is a mood is a mood. In fact it's tantamount to seduction of the machinery  to wake up into a good mood, and think it's something I've done  to have it be that way (bad  moods, of course, are always the fault of something or someone  else, yes? ...). Without my intervention in the process by creating the day, I can't take any  credit for the quality of what happens after I wake up.

For nearly thirty years, I've stood up in front of groups of technicians, leading seminars for many of the Fortune 1000  companies here in these United States. During this time leading hundred of seminars, I never once stood up in front of any of these groups - ever - without being uncomfortably shy, without wanting not to be there, without experiencing stage fright. You may think after a while with so much practice, it would get easier, it would become familiar territory, it would become a safe milieu  - my personal genre  if you will.

But it never has. The uncomfortable shyness of speaking in front of groups of people has never dissipated for me. And I don't mean just from a podium in front of an auditorium. I mean in small groups too - even those comprising just one other person.

If I've learned anything about being uncomfortably shy, it's that it comes with the machinery of being human. It shows up personal but it ain't personal. It's there in whatever form it's there when I'm with people, just like the mood is there in whatever form it's there when I wake up in the morning. If I don't generate myself strikingly bold at the start of my day, what's left (as a default  really) is being uncomfortably shy. And if there's anything I've learned from being up in front of so many audiences so often, it's that the only choice I have is to be strikingly bold in the face of  being uncomfortably shy. If I don't generate being strikingly bold for myself, it sure as heck ain't gonna come from the machinery.

I got a lot from skydiving  in this regard, particularly how much I honor, how much I lend credence to the machinery in my life. The fact is you can drop a Sherman tank  or even a rhinoceros (or both)  from an airplane on a parachute, and they'll land safely. But the machinery and its cacophony of fear as you prepare to jump out of an airplane for the first time, won't hear any of it. I asked my jumpmaster  (he's the guy who supervises the skydive) how long people take to get over their fear. He told me "If you ever get over your fear, I don't want you skydiving with me. People who don't have fear when skydiving are reckless and irresponsible, and are a danger to themselves and to others. Having fear (in other words, being afraid and jumping anyway)  is the appropriate relationship to fear. Not being afraid when you skydive, isn't just plain stoopid:  it isn't even an option - especially on my  airplane.".
Werner Erhard, it sounds to me, may have coached that jumpmaster on what courage  is. Courage isn't having no fear. Courage is being afraid and jumping anyway. That's how I am about being uncomfortably shy yet strikingly bold. I'm uncomfortably shy and I act anyway  - just as I don't allow the mood I wake up into in the morning, to dictate my day.

You could say I have no choice  as to the mood I wake up into in the morning, just as you could say I have no choice as to whether I'm uncomfortably shy, or not.

No, I assert I do  have choice. Really I do. I have two  choices actually. The first choice I have when I'm uncomfortably shy, is I can choose to be uncomfortably shy. The second choice I have when I'm uncomfortably shy, the mature  choice I have when I'm uncomfortably shy, is I can be generous and freely donate all my uncomfortable shyness to the machine, while I choose to be strikingly bold and act anyway.

It's never any easier (nor is it any harder) than this. It's never any easier (nor is it any harder) than now.

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