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

Write Your Life!

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

April 10, 2014

This essay, Write Your Life!, is the companion piece to An Actor Playing The Lead Role In A Play Called "My Life".

I am indebted to Warren Bennis who inspired this conversation.

There are things we discover for ourselves which then become so interwoven in our lives that they require absolutely no thought to implement - riding a bicycle, for example. You get on. You ride. It's effortless. Yet there was a time before you discovered how to ride a bicycle ie before you discovered balance  when the idea of staying upright on two wheels was simply not possible.

Writing your life is like that. Once you discover it, it's effortless, requiring no thought to implement. Before discovering it, it's not possible. Perhaps the only real difference between discovering riding a bicycle and discovering writing your life, is mostly we discover riding a bicycle as young children. But it's a long way into adulthood before we discover the possibility of writing our lives - that is, if we discover it at all. So the difference is mostly just a matter of timing.

Writing your life is a subtle yet profound shift in what's possible for living. When I first discovered it for myself, it inspired me. No, it was more than that: it excited  me. It rocked my world. It changed everything. I reflected on what had taken me so long to discover this seemingly most obvious of sublime ways to live. Given what's at stake, it shouldn't have taken me so long. Given how important  it really is (in the true sense of the word: it has import), it remains an enigma to me why I didn't discover it for myself sooner.

There wasn't much in society or in the education I experienced (which was pretty darn good in all other respects, I might say) which prepared me for life in the real  world by teaching me to write my life. Why? It's unfathomable that there wasn't. Could it simply be because almost no one knew it was possible  and until I met Werner, there was no one to distinguish it vividly for me? Could it be that straight forward? Could that be all it is?

While I'm alive I live my life. That's the default. What does "the default"  mean? It means it's the only available option if I make no other choices. It's what I'm left with. It's the way I wind up being. It's the probable almost certain future. OK, so what other choices are  there? For starters, there's the non-default choice. The non-default choice is I can write my life like a script and live my life from that script. Here's the thing: with or without  writing my life like a script and living my life from that script, I live my life. There's no way around that. But when I write my life and live my life from a script l've written myself, I have say in how it all plays out. Big difference. No, huge  difference.

Writing your life is creating what's going to happen tomorrow that's worthwhile, a matter of creating a future worth living into. To be sure, that's arguably the most important application of writing your own life. The whole arena of creating a future worth living into, the whole possibility of inventing possibility itself  for how it's going to be next is either daunting or inspiring, depending on (it would seem) how much responsibility you're willing to take for it. But ultimately it's doable. It's really doable. It rewrites all the old rules, all the tired old concepts we have about "the quality of life we live in the present being determined by what occurred in the past", replacing them with the breakthrough, more dynamic "the quality of life we live in the present being determined by the future we create to live into"  (as Werner Erhard may have said).

Is it really that simple? Yes it really is that simple - that is, if you're really willing to listen it that simple  ... (Gee! I hope you get that!).

To complete this conversation, there's an illusion which has to be pierced (no sacred cows here!), and it's this: writing my life, writing a script for my future, can never be used to save me from a present I'm unwilling to live, or from a past I wish I never had.

What do I mean by that?

Writing my life includes writing a script for my future, and it also includes writing my present exactly the way it is  (and exactly the way it isn't) and my past exactly the way it was  (and exactly the way it wasn't). Until I can write my present exactly the way it is and exactly the way it isn't, and my past exactly the way it was and exactly the way it wasn't without changing one god-damned thing about either of them, I have no power to write my future ie I have no power to write my life.

I can't explain this. There doesn't seem to be any earthly reason for it to be like this. On reflection however it just works this way.

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