Werner Erhard was a major force in the self-empowerment movement in the 1970’s and early 1980’s with his EST workshops, which claimed more than 750,000 graduates. Their purpose was “to transform one’s ability to experience living so that the situations one had been trying to change or had been putting up with, clear up just in the process of life itself.”
There was a lot of controversy over the effectiveness of Erhard’s program. EST was later replaced with The Forum, which still takes place today under different leadership.
Despite the controversy, I have a framed quote by Erhard on my desk, which I look at often. Here it is:
“Excellence is thought to be a matter of skill, ability, knowledge or effort. In fact, it is not. Excellence in all cases is a matter of being excellent. When you take an honest, uncomplicated look at those you know who possess the qualities of excellence, creativity, competence and achievement, clearly they are simply being excellent, being creative, being competent, being able. It’s really as simple as that.”
Since we are in the creative business, I sometimes ponder whether creativity is an innate talent or learned. Erhard would make the case that it is neither. He would proffer that it is a choice. I agree. When someone says they have little creative flair, they are relinquishing their power to be creative. Similarly, I have a relative who claims to have poor planning skills, yet is quite adept at analyzing every option and detail when it comes to purchasing electronic equipment.
As Erhard suggests, take a look around at those whom you admire for their creativity, achievements or ability to get results, and you’ll observe that they are merely being. Then take a look at your own life. Whether you’re working on a major creative assignment for a client, or simply planning the details of your next vacation, how do you choose to be?
–Ralph Yearick is CEO of Yearick-Millea. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org