When Do You Know that You Can Build a House?
Recently my e-newsletter came from Robert Fritz. Sometimes I pass them by, but today I decided to open it and read it. Robert and his wife, Rosalind, I consider to be some of the most innovative thinkers in the country—maybe the world. When I studied with him in Vermont several years ago, his concept of structures and structural change made all things possible for me. He taught me that I didn’t have to change old, dead opinions of myself in order to create magnificent outcomes. I didn’t have to “believe” in myself or anything else in order to create. I could just sidestep outworn beliefs and begin creating.
One woman in his workshop said that she and her husband were building a house. In reality, they were living in the basement part of the house because it had no upper floors yet. The woman was claiming that she and her husband “could” build a house, but in fact, they hadn’t. They had created a basement.
I always remember Robert looking at this woman and asking her, “How do you know when you can build a house?” The woman insisted that she did know—because she believed they could get the job done. Robert repeated his question again and again. The woman was quite frustrated with him.
Finally he said, “You know you can build a house—when the house is built.”
How do we know when we can create something? When it is created. That sounds so simple, but requires something more of us than just believing. It requires that we act.
Now, these many years later, it amuses me that I can ask myself the same question. How do I know that we can build a straw bale house? Because we did it. We began with the strong desire to do it. We built a model of it. We stared at the model all winter and wanted it badly. We studied books and videos until we taught ourselves more about how to build it. Then, the summer before last, we built a straw bale house. This past summer we lived in it.
Knowing the difference between wishes, hopes, desires, imagination—and having a well-formed vision of what you want with clearly defined steps to creating it can be tricky. One simply frustrates us, and the other empowers and enlivens us.
Unfortunately, most of us are taking the action steps to creating a life we don’t want.
I recently had to buzz away my blog posts because a hacker had taken over. It felt kind of good to clear the deck and ask myself (one more time) what do I want to create? I decided that I would like to help myself and others design and create the life they most want. All of us understand the powerful human attribute that Robert simply calls “the dynamic urge.” We want to create because it is fun. Creating, whether it is a house, a neat corner of the room, a nice dinner, a beautiful book or piece of music, is just plain fun.
So, come along with me and let’s see what we can create. For starters, consider for a moment only what you most want. Be careful that your mind does not suddenly jump to problem-solving. It kills the dynamic urge. It is not enough to “not” want something such as debt, bad relationships, sucky things like that. It is important to ask, “What do I want?” and “Can I visualize it?” Robert said your vision of it should be clear enough (and close enough) that you would recognize it if you saw it. Don’t wait for the perfect vision.
No, pin yourself against the wall and ask those two questions again and again until your little mind gets weary of tossing up problems to solve and the real you steps out and says “What I most want to create is (fill in the blank).”
If you want to know more about Robert and Rosalind Fritz, read “The Path of Least Resistance” or sign on to his e-newsletter at www.robertfritz.com. There is great information in each of his newsletters for any who want to know if they can build a house.