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

What Are You Going To Do Today?

Sacramento, California, USA

August 1, 2019

"The only thing you are going to do today is: what you do today. Therefore, the only thing there is to do today is: what you do today. That's all there was to do when you started no matter what you thought or think."
"People who are at the effect of time, people who can't create time, people who can't manage time, people who can't move time around, people who can't handle time, people who are overwhelmed by time, have no mastery and no basis for mastery. The basis for mastery in the world is being able to handle time."
This essay, What Are You Going To Do Today?, was written at the same time as Dirty Clothes, Clean Hands: A Stand.

I am indebted to Tamberlaine Harris who inspired this conversation.

Before I became a homeowner and a parent, I got it all done before I went to bed at night. Then I purchased a house and fathered three children. And although I gave it my best shot, I no longer got it all done before I went to bed at night.

So there've been two take-aways from this experience I've undergone of getting done what I get done, which are the precursors to a breakthrough I've had in getting things done. They are:

 1)  I got it all done (within the limited context of one day);
 2)  I didn't get it all done (at the end of the day there were things left to do);

Then I expanded my notion of getting it all done, to include getting done everything there is to get done in my entire life. Since then, getting it all done has become like climbing a mountain, an Everest  or a Kilimanjaro. More than that, it's become like climbing a mountain with no top. Even more than that, it's as I'm climbing, the mountain keeps growing taller. That's when I realized I'll never  get it all done, so I needed to recontextualize  (I love  that word) what I do  get done so that it's not diminished by doing it inside of my default future of "I didn't get it all done", "I didn't do enough", "I should have done more" blah blah blah yada yada yada etc.

Sometime around now (it may have happened five weeks ago or fifty years ago, but sometime around now), enter Werner stage left, and I had a breakthrough in the way I am with what I get done before I go to bed at night: it's I get done what I get done, and I don't get done what I don't get done. Unexamined / undiscovered, that's always been true (patently so, trivially  so). Examined / discovered / grokked  newly (as Robert Heinlein may have said), it's a breakthrough in Zen: the only thing I'll get done in any particular day is what I'll get done in that particular day, not one thing more, not one thing less. Great! Now I can relax and enjoy the climb.

Wait! Don't gloss over that quickly. It's golden. Stop and look: who (or what) do you have to be, for it to be a breakthrough and not merely mundane and / or trivial?

It's this renewed outlook ie this renewed being with  what there is to get done, that sets up the Zen breakthrough (or the just plain common sense, depending on how you look at it). While my outlook on what there is to get done may have altered somewhat, none of my doing  has changed in the slightest. A breakthrough in getting things done lives in the outlook on (ie in the context for) getting things done, not in a better strategy or in a different time-management plan for getting more done.

So your answer to my question "What are you going to do today?" may be twofold, depending on whether your answer is "pre-breakthrough" or "post-breakthrough". Pre-breakthrough, your answer could be a long, rambling list of chores which you'd like to get done today specifically, or just a selection from an annual wish-list. It may be an uncertain list which may change, get updated, deleted from, or added to, and which may indeed include things that end up getting done, as well as many that don't. Post-breakthrough, the answer to my question "What are you going to do today?" is always "The only thing I am going to do today, is what I do today.".

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