BE, DO, HAVE

July 29th, 2010

From Cam Mosher

There are three words that tell each of us a lot about how we are wired in life.  Be, Do, and Have.  The order in which these words are arranged gives us the key.

Most of the world is wired around HAVE-DO-BE.  Have-do-be people are validated by what they possess.  These  folks see life as, “If I have these things (possessions, position, title, power, popularity, reputation, money, toys, etc.), then I can do what I want, and then I will be happy and fulfilled.”  Such people are focused on getting.  They validate themselves by what they have.  If they lose it, they lose their identity.

Much of the world is wired around DO-HAVE-BE.  Do-have-be people are validated by what they do.  Many religious folks and performers tend to see life this way.  Do-have-be people see life as, “If I do these things (be good, keep the commandments, say my prayers, pay my tithes and offerings, help other people, obey the law, etc.), then I will have the approval of God and my fellow men, and then I will be saved and eternally happy.  Such people are focused on doing.  They validate themselves by their accomplishments and good performance, by their ability to perform, perhaps even through their amazing martyrdom.  If they lose that ability to do, or fall short in their performance, they lose their identity.  Some of these folks are the committed victims of the world, the “poor me” crowd.  Their identity is tied up in what is DONE TO THEM.  “If you just look at what is done to me, you will have sympathy for me or God will have pity on me, and then surely I will be happy or at least finally be given a place in Heaven.”  They see their misfortune as a way to earn their way in life, or their place in the afterlife.

Some people are wired BE-DO-HAVE.  Be-do-have people are validated by who they are.  These folks see life as, “This is who I am.  If I live true to who I am, what I do flows naturally from who I am, and I have results that are consistent with who I am.”  The focus is on being and the qualities they possess as a matter of character and development.    Such people see life as a journey of discovery, discovery of who they are and developing and growing.  They see the challenges and experiences of life as opportunities to learn and grow.  Their validity is tied in with who they are, not what they have or what they do.  Loss of possessions may be inconvenient, but is not cause for loss of identity.  Loss of ability to perform may require a shift in how one performs, but does not cause any invalidation of self.  These people are focused on the fact that they exist and are open to what experience teaches them about themselves.

I am of the opinion that BE-DO-HAVE is a personal philosophy that brings the greatest satisfaction in life.  I have some incredible heroes who exemplify this wiring to me.  Viktor Frankl and Stephen Hawking are two.  I recommend learning about them.

I would like to believe that I am making some personal progress toward the ideal of BE-DO-HAVE.  It is a satisfying journey so far.  The title of my book, I’m OK! I’m just not finished, is a statement of my belief that every person is OK as a human being.  And that life is a journey of discovery to acknowledge that we are OK and express it.  Having both strengths and weaknesses is part of being human.  Our strengths are not special commendations, but are our opportunities to give of ourselves; our weaknesses are not condemnations, but are our opportunities to learn and grow.  Life is not long enough for any of us to ever really finish discovering what a magnificent being he/she is.  But all of us have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of our magnificence, if we are willing to see ourselves through that lens.

There is an interesting statement from Jesus in the New Testament.  Matt. 5:48, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect. Regardless of how one feels about Jesus or the Bible, that statement is cause for reflection.  BE is the imperative form, a commandment.  And it is in the present tense.  It says “Be perfect now!” And it gives God as the standard of perfection!  So how does one keep that commandment?  Well, it does NOT say “DO perfect” or “HAVE perfect.”  Perhaps we can BE PERFECT, with God as the standard of perfection, by focusing on the word BE.  If I am true to myself, to the best sense of myself that I have in the present moment, is not that being perfect, perfectly true to myself?  In that sense of perfection, is there room for ongoing growth and additional learning and discovery?  Can I improve on my DOING, as I continue to learn and grow?  Of course, but I firmly believe that I am OK and you are OK! Are now, always have been, and always be.  Nothing you or I ever do or ever  have will alter who we are.

I like to think that such a view of self is worth pondering.

Cam Mosher

34 Responses to “BE, DO, HAVE”

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    Great article Cam! What a great insight into the “Be Do Have principle.” BEING is everything. I always think of vegetarians at a buffet breakfast, they don’t have to think about whether or not they’ll eat bacon or sausage, it doesn’t even enter into their consciousness. It’s just who they are (a vegetarian.) Yes, Be Do Have and watch your life transform 🙂

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