Peter Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, is an Emmy Award-winning composer, NY Times best-selling author and noted philanthropist. Currently, he is releasing socially-conscious music and touring his “Concert & Conversation” series in support of his book Life Is What You Make It.
“How I got here doesn’t tell me who I am”
“Open Hearted Hand” by Peter Buffett
What do you believe and why do you believe it?
We have been living out of stories that we’re told; Stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, stories history books tell us, the newspapers tell us, and our parents tell us.
We decide whether we believe in these stories or not, and build quite complex cases to justify our position. But where did these stories begin?
If you look deep enough, every story comes from fear or fearlessness.
• History books: Stories written by the victors demonstrate this either by morals or by might. These stories are built around "us vs. them," and not just conquest of countries and people, but nature and spirit as well.
• Parents: Stories told to their children lived out as values and influences that are a direct reflection of what they needed—and did or didn’t get—as children themselves.
• Society: Stories told through a myriad of laws (spoken and unspoken), media and modes of behavior that define what a community values and aspires to.
We act and react out of the stories we believe in. We are constantly making choices—almost always unconsciously—from the basis of what we believe. We live in a constant state of reacting from what we "know" to be true or untrue.
This is our past—collectively and individually—animating us. "Telling" us what to do based on what we "know."
This is reflected in the frustration of the Occupy movement. Something’s wrong and it’s big. But what is it? Something in the story is off track.
Is it really 99 percent vs. 1 percent? Or is it 1 percent in all of us?
What we’re really looking for is a new story—a story to live in to. Not old stories to live out of.
This country was "discovered" as a commercial enterprise. Of course it’s devolved into a financial disaster! All you have to do is read the first quotes of Columbus to see where we were heading:
"They willingly traded everything they owned ... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features ... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane ... They would make fine servants ... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."
So now I’ll start the piece over with:
What do you know and why do you know it?
We know with our hearts. We know with our gut. Our body tells us what we know.
Our mind processes and decides based on old information.
It’s time to not be afraid. To listen again. And know that anything—everything—is possible.