“A Shot Heard ‘Round the World: A World that Works for Everyone, A Report On The Impact Of A Recent Event With Werner” (continued)


Since we have been raised and educated in a you or me world, and since very few of us have noticed the shift to you and me, we are going to have to work out the rules for living on our own.  We won’t get much help.  Werner did share his own perceptions of some of the other new rules, or operating principles, for the you and me context.

1. Respect the other person’s point of view, whether or not you agree with it.  Recognize that if you had their history, their circumstances, and the forces that play on them, you would likely have their point of view.

2. Consider life a privilege – all of it, even the parts that are difficult or seem a waste of time.

3. Give up the islands that reinforce mediocrity, the safe places where we gossip and complain to one another, where we are petty.

4. Take a chance.  Be willing to put your reputation on the line; have something at stake.

5. Work for satisfaction rather than for credit.

6. Keep your word.  There will be times when the circumstances of life will make you forget who you are and what you’re about.  That is when you need to be committed to keeping your word, making what you say count.

Werner spoke at length about a primary operating principle of you and me which he called “trimtabbing” – the ability to use skillful means, to apply whatever effort is available to achieve results far greater than you could expect that much effort to produce.  Buckminster Fuller coined this term from the small trimtab which turns a huge rudder on large ocean-going ships; he uses it to show how a “little individual” can change the course of the mighty ship of state.

Trimtabbing implies using the principle of leverage, enhancing individual effectiveness by applying one’s energy in such a way that it will produce the greatest results.  People become “trimtabs” when their lives are oriented beyond their personal desires to supplying what is wanted and needed.  They shift their sense of self from the thing which they are to the space in which life is.  Discovering and providing what is wanted and needed, Werner said, is the key to living successfully in a you and me world.

- Werner Erhard, 1980


Heroes are ordinary men and women who dare to see and meet the call of a possibility bigger than themselves. Breakthroughs are created by such heroes, by men and women who will stand for the result while it is only a possibility - people who will act to make possibility real.
Werner Erhard

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