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


Your Most Important Job Today

Panda Express, Napa, California, USA

June 23, 2017



"Live a life you love." ... Landmark Worldwide

I am indebted to my children Alexandra Lindsey Platt and Christian Laurence Platt and Joshua Nelson Platt who inspired this conversation.




Depending on who you are (and when I say that, I mean depending on who you're being for yourself)  (I'll return to this theme in a moment), there could be many different considerations and evaluations about what your most important job today is, or should be. For example, if you are that you have to make a good impression, then your most important job today is to have people think well of you. If you are that you have to become wealthy, then your most important job today is to stay focused on the bottom line, generate income, and maximize profits. If you are that you're a good team player and a loyal employee, then your most important job today is to do whatever it takes to gain your colleagues' and your boss' approval and respect (in one form or another, being approved and respected, like being thought well of ie being loved, is a highly prized commodity). But in this  conversation, speaking as I am now as a father to his children, your most important job today is: live a life you love, and enjoy that life. That's  the job you should be doing. It's Job #1. Do it, and do it well. From it, everything else good follows.

Now with all that said as my opening, I suspect in certain circles (and by that I mean in certain listenings), the notion that Job #1  is to live a life you love, and to enjoy that life, will elicit raised eyebrows. Are you suggesting Laurence, that you can do anything  you love doing, and based solely  on that criterion, it's OK? What if doing what you love doing disregards morals, disregards ethics, disregards conscience? The whole idea starts to reek of anarchy, hedonism, paganism etc, doesn't it?

Actually no, it doesn't. It's not that at all. But if it's not that, then what is it? There's some background here I'd like to share which will put this assertion in sharp(er) focus. My children were raised in an environment (which is to say they were raised in a conversation)  that who you are is your word, and that integrity is honoring your word as who you really are. As they matured, so the conversation matured. Later, honoring their word was differentiated from keeping  their word (blurring the line between those two, is a common pitfall resulting in being out of integrity, by the way). And here's the thing: even in their tender years when they were arguably too young to speak that conversation with me, I  was speaking that conversation with them  - which is to say that's the powerful context  in which they were raised.

This is where the rubber meets the road: when you're honoring your word as who you really are, and then  living the life you love, and enjoying that life, life isn't fraught with the same pitfalls and traps of simply doing whatever the heck you like  regardless of the consequences to yourself or to others in that kind of anarchistic / paganistic / hedonistic way. The idea of first adhering to (ie taking your cue from) honoring your word as who you really are, and then living the life you love, and enjoying that life in that order, is germane. It's this adherence which allows for a life which, given the true nature of word, just so happens to also stay within the realm of what's moral and what's ethical and what's conscionable, allaying those erstwhile concerns - and when it doesn't, it's the touchstone bedrock  to true* to.

Being in integrity (as defined by honoring your word as who you really are - nothing more, nothing less) is distinct from being moral, just as it's distinct from being ethical. These distinctions aside, honoring my word as who I really am, given the true nature of word, includes not violating moral constraints (ie what's good and true and right for individuals) as well as not violating ethical constraints (ie what's good and true and right for society). If there's a God-given key for human beings which unlocks living a life that works  (which means workability is then simply a by-product  of living life) and is also moral and ethical without necessarily requiring having much attention on the latter two, it's honoring my word as who I really am. That's  the ground of being I speak with my children, from which to live a life they love, and to enjoy that life. That's  the life I refer to when I say the living of it is Job #1  ie their most important job today. From it I assert everything else good follows.


*   Merriam-Webster's dictionary allows true  as a transitive verb: to make level, square, balanced, or concentric; bring or restore to a desired mechanical accuracy or form.


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© Laurence Platt - 2017 Permission