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Knowing Your Desires and Letting Them Guide You
Andrew Weil’s Location Revelation
The good among the great, the men and women such as Doctor Andrew Weil, the pioneer of holistic medicine are always open to new experiences because they are alert to their own wants and they embrace opportunities to satisfy those wants. In the early 1980’s, Weil moved to a majestic Arizona ranch 2500 miles from where he grew up because he listened to his heart and was open to a new experience. The opportunity to live in this sun-splashed corner of America only presented itself after his car broke down on his way home from doing research on tribal medicines in Central America.
Because he was then driving a Land Rover, he had to wait several days for parts. He was stuck for more than a week and decided to relax and explore the desert town. Long before snowbirds and Canyon Ranchers invaded, Weil saw and embraced the beauty and solemnity of the desert. At the end of the few days that he was stranded there, the small voice in Weil’s head said simply, “I like it here” and he responded.
Most people, certainly many high-achieving Americans don’t have the courage to follow their inner desires. Indeed, they don’t even allow themselves that kind of choice because they feel: obligated to others, that self-sacrifice is noble, that change is scary, or they don’t even recognize their own wants. They’re trapped by their own internal zeitgeists, made of up of parental dictums, perceived financial incentives and penalties, spousal and social pressures, and unrecognized prejudices against their own wants. And it costs them new experiences and ultimately their truest lives. As Weil said to me in 2001 (in his tree house!) when I asked, “What if you ignore these subtle signals?”
“The same thing will keep coming up for you until you either do or you don’t… I tend to follow those clues from the universe. There is synchronicity in events and the more one is tuned into that the more you can take advantage of those opportunities, be happier, be guided along the path that will lead to greater freedom and greater usefulness.”
Freedom? Usefulness? Whoa! Weil believes that it’s not about selfishness to follow your wants and dreams. It’s about freedom for yourself and usefulness to others, to the world. These are lofty not self-serving goals. You owe it to yourself and to the world to hear that small voice within and to act on it. Be the best you can be by being who you want and ought to be. And among the fantastic side effects are that you will be more: authentic, integrated, useful, productive, spontaneous, expressive and joyous.
Ahhhh! I’ve just listed more traits of happy high-achievers. But in depth descriptions and examples of these traits will have to wait for future essays.
Check out Donald Van De Mark's series on the 19 Personality Traits of the Best Human Beings
Donald Van de Mark has interviewed hundreds of leaders in business and politics including: Andrew Weil, MD, former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, Jack Welch, Starbucks' Howard Schultz and Intel's Andy Grove, in his nearly 3 decades as a correspondent and anchor at CNN, CNBC and public television. He integrates practical tips from these great leaders to provide a riveting motivational speech on the personality traits of successful people. Donald is also the host of the corporate training video, The Wisdom of Caring Leaders.