Springingtiger's Blog

The Language of Choice. 1

How do you know what you chose? It’s what you got!” Werner Erhard

I was reading recently an article by Darren Eden  ̶ who teaches a course called ‘The Transformation’ ̶ in which he said that “setting goals is futile” and that we should instead “orient to our Greatness and make Choices”. I am not going to argue with the article it made some very valid points. However it highlighted for me that we have some seriously collapsed distinctions around our language of choice  ̶ or perhaps, our choice of language.

Darren Eden distinguishes between ‘choices’ and ‘goals’ whereas Robert Fritz ̶ whose work Darren references in his course ̶ distinguishes a Primary Choice as a “long term goal”. Is it a choice or a goal? In Fritz’s book ‘The Path of Least Resistance’ he looks at three types of choice: The Fundamental Choice that goes to the essence of who a person is, the Primary Choice which is a long term goal, and the Secondary Choice which supports a primary choice. Darren Eden’s system to some extent collapses the Primary and Fundamental Choices, which I think is part of his differentiation of ‘choice’ from ‘goal’. Fritz’s Primary Choices are goals because they are measurable whereas Eden’s Primary Choices like Fritz’s Fundamental Choices are subjective and not objectively measurable. What is observable about a Primary Choice in either system is firstly, that they are given by love and secondly, that they are ̶ as Fritz puts it ̶ “about some result you want in and for itself. It is not something you want because it will lead you to something else ̶ even though it may. A Primary Choice does not function mainly as a step in a series of steps. It functions as the primary goal.” If a choice has an ‘in order to’ it is not a Primary Choice. Thus ̶ if we take Robert Fritz’s example of a chef whose Primary Choice is to cook a delicious meal ̶ as long as the goal is the meal and the experience of cooking and enjoying the meal it remains a Primary Choice, but the moment it becomes something like ‘I choose to cook a beautiful meal to enhance my reputation as a chef’ it becomes a Secondary Choice. A Secondary Choice serves a Primary, so there is probably a Primary about being a chef. Another quotation from ‘The Path of Least Resistance’ that illustrates the difference between Fritz and Eden on the identity of choices and goals is, “In organisations the leader as creator understands the relationship between choices that are primary ̶ such as results, objectives, and goals ̶ and choices that are secondary ̶ those strategic choices of employee teams, hours of work, timing, training scheduling, researching, meeting, and so on.”

The process by which Robert Fritz’s students and Darren Eden’s arrive at a Primary Choice are very different and this is probably another factor in their different understanding of goals. Fritz uses a systematic process to elicit a person’s vision of what they love, whereas Eden’s process involves arriving intuitively at one’s vision and drawing the Primary Choice from that. It is not for me to expound their processes as they form a part of larger courses and ̶ I think ̶ it is best to learn these things in their appropriate context. Context is another reason Eden and Fritz differ in their approach to goals. Both run successful courses ̶ by successful I don’t primarily mean profitable, but that they produce desirable results for the participants. Darren Eden’s ‘The Transformation’ is “an eight month training which will lead you on a magical journey of transformation into your Greatness.

You will learn how to harness the power of your imagination and intuition to artfully and masterfully create the life you truly love.” Whereas Robert Fritz runs several different programs on Creativity, Structural Thinking, and decision making. I would not argue with either teacher’s terminology, the trick is to use the terminology appropriate to the context.

One thing that is apparent in both systems is that ̶ whatever you choose to call them ̶ Secondary Choices tend to be goals. Primary Choices may be given by the vision of what a person would love, Secondary Choices are very less obviously so. Secondary Choices are frequently things a person doesn’t want to do like get up at 06:00 to train for a marathon, before showering and going into work. However when they have the Primary Choice of running a marathon, the Secondary Goal makes sense. Generally Secondary Choices have measurable outcomes and can be formulated as goals. However there is a specific type of Secondary Choice in Darren Eden’s system called a ‘Bridge’ which may or may not have an objectively measurable outcome. It is a way of returning a person’s focus to their vision of what they would love and hence it is a Secondary Choice.

Ultimately whether someone makes a choice or formulates a goal much of the power of the choice depends upon whether it frees them to act and create or becomes a burden restricting their access to possibility.

Lost In Space

Once again I am running late on my blog and it is entirely my own fault. I was so totally absorbed in what I was doing that everything else vanished from my consciousness. My daughter and my grandchildren have finally moved into their new flat. I was in my daughter’s room armed with notebook, pencil and measuring tape working out how to best utilise the space she has left behind her. I was inspired and totally focused, time stood still for me. However for the rest of the world time moved on.

By a judicious re arrangement of furniture and the installation of a day bed the room can be transformed into a very nice little sitting, consulting room which will double as a spare bedroom. I need to get to work on it soon, as it is only a matter of time before we get a visit from an American friend and I’d like to accommodate him comfortably.

Although there will be some capital outlay I expect to be able to complete the job for less than four hundred pounds and that includes the day bed and mattresses. Because we were in the process of sorting out the house before my daughter moved in, I have already bought the floor covering, which would have added to the cost somewhat.

The job should take very little time. The painting itself will take one day, it is not a large room. If I allow a day for laying the floor covering and a couple for emptying and moving furniture I hope four days will be adequate so I’ll allow myself a week to get the job done. I really do need to have a door made specially for the room to best utilise the space, but it’s not a complicated job.The worst and most time consuming part of the operation will be emptying the room to paint it. There will have to be a sifting and dumping exercise. However that is true of the whole house. The clearing and tidying exercise has been on hold for a year, but now, while I am on holiday, it begins again. I’m actually quite excited, but oh, there’s a lot to do now we have the house to ourselves again. As the saying goes, Watch this space!

Aspergian Thoughts on Meaning

Do people with Asperger’s think more than humans, it feels like it? Whereas some moo seem to be able to get through life with a minimum of constructive thought, we are condemned to analyse and assess everything, we even analyse our analyses. We are locked in a never ending quest to make sense of your world and its inhabitants.

Of course, if it is true that, with our thoughts we create the world we perceive, then perhaps our problem is merely that we over think. Perhaps we are looking for a meaning that is not there, perhaps your lives are meaningless. We look for purpose in your lives, perhaps there is none; what if your ultimate purpose is to live until you die having spawned your next generation? Would that be so bad? An examination of virtually any species shows that their purpose is generally to reproduce, are humans really any different?

One wonders why people need to find meaning, higher purpose for their lives. Is it not enough just to live and enjoy? Humans have, it seems, an unlimited capacity for enjoyment and so many ways to satisfy their senses, food, music, art, theatre, cinema, sport. There seems to be a certain reality to emotions, perhaps they are no more than chemical reactions, but people certainly feel them. What someone can feel they can enjoy, and that is certainly true of emotions, as any grandparent, watching their granddaughter discovering butterflies, can affirm. With so much to see, and do, and feel and, above all, to enjoy do you really need a higher purpose, is this not enough?

And of my own search for meaning? Perhaps that is my purpose, to search for meaning. The search is the purpose, for if one should ever find the meaning of life then their would be no more purpose, the game would be over.


As a former pupil of Giggleswick School I am sent Gig: News, the magazine that keeps us in touch with the school. As well as news, it always contains plenty of reminiscence, which stirs my own memories of a childhood which grows happier the further I am removed from it. The latest edition contained a report of the quincentenary OG Day chapel service, which reminded me of having to learn the hymns for the end of term service which, in tribute to the former pupils who served in two World Wars, took place in blackout conditions. I was amused and pleased when the words of “Oh God Our Help in Ages Past” sprang without effort to my mind after forty years. I, personally, loved the end of term service and always found it moving and magical, learning the hymns was a small price to pay. Of course, back then learning by rote was common, I still have fragments of poems learned nearly half a century ago immovably fixed in my memory.

I have cause to be grateful for the religious life of Giggleswick. When, freed from the discipline of Gig, my university career fell apart I sank into one of my periodic, debilitating, depressions. For a period the only thing that held me together were remembered pieces of the “Book of Common Prayers and from “Hymns: Ancient and Modern”, they were all that kept me from surrendering to utter despair. However it was not the beliefs behind the words that sustained me, but rather, the beauty and familiarity of the words themselves; were it not for the ten years of repetition in the school chapel that fixed the words in my mind, I doubt I would be alive today.

Today we tend not to learn pieces of writing by heart as we used, but I am inclined to the opinion that it was useful discipline that extended beyond the chapel or the classroom. I suppose it may be argued that rather than fill our heads with information, we can substitute Google for memory. To some extent it’s a valid point that we don’t need information as long as we know how to access it, it is better to know “how” rather than “what”. Just as we learn how to perform mathematical calculations rather than memorise the answers to all possible sums, it is better to learn systems rather than facts. However there may come a time when one is cut off from the internet or the library, and the only place to which one can turn for answers is one’s own mind; that is when one will be glad to have more on which to draw than systems. There is a value in remembered stories, poems, songs, and dramatic scripts, the building bricks of our culture. The memory is a tool which if not used becomes rusty and when needed may fail. Remembering should be practised and the use of memory taught to our children.

Sometimes You Can Go Back

This week I have been revisiting my past, happily without disappointment. It must be about nine years since I saw The Mavericks, however Neelam discovered that they were performing in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh on Wednesday and bought tickets. Each of our Front Stall tickets was thirty five pounds, I have to say that occurs ad great value. The support act was a singer/songwriter, Declan O’Rourke; his first two slow songs led me to believe I was going to be bored by him, but then he went into an acappella song about a sailor marrying the sea and the rest of his set was funny, inspired and lively. Of course the audience was the Mavericks’ audience and The Mavericks did not disappoint. Their new material was blended with the classics we all knew and bopped along to, some of the arrangements were new, but the enjoyment was unchanged. When the band took it’s interval, Raoul Malo was away long enough for a quick pee and then came back to play a solo set until the band returned. Very few of the audience say for long during the second half, it is easier to listen to The Mavericks while dancing! It may have been nearly a decade since I saw them, buy there were as great as I remembered.

I spent three weeks living in Edinburgh in 1986 as part of the British Telecom Special Events Team at the Commonwealth Games and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, perhaps too well. Since then I have only visited as a day tripper, Neelam and I decided this time to stay for a couple of nights. Edinburgh is still an easy place in which to have fun and find good food. Even were one to choose not to enter any of the city’s attractions, just walking around the streets is an entertainment provided by the tourists and the amazing views that present themselves at every turn. I have returned to Edinburgh and I was not disappointed.

Back in my student days I used to hang out in Turnbull Hall, the Catholic chaplaincy. Among the crowd were Mike Foster and his girl friend Angiolina, two of the nicest people one could have hoped to meet. I am notoriously bad at maintaining contacts, but Neelam has been encountering both Mike and Angiolina at various points in her professional life. Neelam set up for is to meet Angiolina, who is now a director in the Scottish Government over coffee in St. Andrew’s House. In all honesty I was not entirely looking forward to the meeting, it had been a long time since we had met and I didn’t want to be disappointed. I should not have worried, Angiolina was every bit as lovely as I remembered and it was great to catch up on the intervening thirty seven years (I did say I’m not good at keeping in contact with people!) I was not disappointed, far from it, it crowned a very enjoyable mini holiday.

People say it’s not a good idea to revisit one’s past because of the danger of disappointment, they are entitled to their opinions. However I have revisited my past and I was not disappointed. After the last few days, should I get an opportunity to revisit my past I will not hesitate; the possible joy to be derived from revisiting my past far outweighs the risk of disappointment.

Because I Say So

When I say, “I am going to be powerful” I am declaring that I am NOT powerful.
When I say, “I am someone” I dissociate from myself, I put me at arms length.
When I say, “there are doubts” or “doubts occur” I am declaring that I am not in control of my feelings, I am abdicating my responsibility.

When I say, “I doubt” I am responsible. I am doing the doubting, it is not something happening to me. I choose to doubt and I can choose not to, I am in control.

When I drop the “someone” and instead say simply, “I am” I put myself at the heart of the action, I am where everything happens.

When, instead of, “I am going to be…” I say, “I AM fun, I AM joyful, I AM powerful!” I am declaring this is who I AM. This is who I am BEING regardless of how I feel. This is not who I hope to be this is who I am and the world will adjust itself accordingly, because I say so and, as I learned from Werner, “My word is law in the Universe!”*

* “If you keep saying it the way it really is, eventually your word is law in the universe.” (Werner Erhard)

How I am today, is just that.

Today I awoke tired and sore, all my muscles ached, my throat was burning; in short i was displaying all the symptoms I have learned to associate with the onset of, what I call, a CFIDS, event. Yesterday I did not behave entirely sensibly. I came off a night shift and just took a couple of hours nap before heading off to Edinburgh for the afternoon and evening. I had committed to a seminar in the evening, but the afternoon was optional. Neelam had a meeting in the morning so I thought it would be fun to spend the afternoon in Edinburgh, logically not the most sensible of choices, but I was right it was fun. We went to Patisserie Valerie where the food is good, but the cakes and pastries are magnificent. Edinburgh is always a nice place to visit, even if all one does is walk around and look. We walked and we looked, we visited the Peace and Justice Centre.

While we are on the subject there is a weekend of Scrap Trident action in Glasgow this weekend beginning on Saturday with a demonstration in George Square at 10:15 all details from http://www.scraptrident.org

In the evening, increasingly tired we went to my seminar. I was too tired to do it justice. Had I had a proper sleep things might have been very different, but I chose a day out. The point is, as I realised on reflection today, I chose; no one else chose for me, what I got, I chose. The strange thing is, the moment I realised, I chose to feel better and I felt better. Ok, I still felt tired, but I didn’t let it spoil my day, I chose to rest as I needed, I chose to have a bath and, above all, I choose to feel good. It is not wrong to feel tired, or to have a headache, it may be inconvenient, but it is not wrong, at worst it is merely what’s so and that may not have to be true. Look around, wherever there is cause for pain and sorrow and suffering, some suffer, but some do not. Wherever there is cause for joy and celebration, there are always some who, nonetheless, suffer. What matters is not the circumstances in which we live, but how we live in our circumstances. Although I may have got little out of the seminar last night, I was reminded of my est training and that I, and I alone, am responsible for my experience and I alone can transform it. The strangest part of this is that one’s circumstances seem to mirror one’s experiences. If I am happy I can quickly find reasons for my happiness; in truth it is not our circumstances that cause our experience, but, rather, the experiences we choose that give us the world in which we live. We will always be able to find reasons for how we feel, but how we feel will determine the reasons we find and so, if we choose to rejoice in and enjoy our world we will find plenty of cause for joy. Rejoice!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,822 other followers