Build Your Leaders

Postcard from Asheville

March 2011

Wherever you live, I hope you’re enjoying warmer weather like we’ve been having in Asheville. As wonderful as it is here, I’ve had an impending sense of doom; I’m afraid winter is not yet over. Another snow will come and nip the buds. Life has presented yet another reminder to stay present and enjoy “what is” rather than focus on “what if.”

This month, we’ll love at the “dis-ease” of wanting more.

P.S. May I ask for your help? I’ve been writing a piece on break-ups and wonder if you’d share your best advice on letting go, learning the lessons, and moving on. Please e-mail me your thoughts at


Wanting More

I have a confession to make: I have a disease. It’s the disease of “more.” No matter what I have, I want more.

I make a good living, and still I want to make more. I have art stacked in my basement, yet I spend hours visiting art galleries online. More. That martini tasted so good before dinner last night that I ordered a glass of wine with dinner. More.

Sure, I get a buzz every time I deposit a check. And a new piece of art will capture my attention for almost a week. But these glimmers of happiness are only glimmers. Within weeks, I want M – O – R – E.

My whole life would improve if only one of my books hit the bestseller list. And wouldn’t life be grand if I could take that bike trip in France? Or go on an African safari? I surely would be happy if a gallery called wanting to show my work. Or friends wanted to go to the movies as often as I do.

A belief in several ancient wisdom traditions is that happiness is a state of mind; it’s not based on something happening. Put another way, happiness is never about having; it’s about being. I know it’s true. The world is filled with people who seem to have everything and are miserable. And there are those who have little and feel boundless joy.

So how do we reach that much sought after “state of bliss”? Certainly one way is to live in gratitude.

Every night before I go to bed, I recount three people, situations, or things I’m grateful for. When I put my attention on what I do have—not what I don’t—I am happy.

Do I still get “the wants”? You betcha. But when I do, I examine what it is I am really wanting, and seldom is it the actual item.

Five years ago, I was considering purchasing a second car, a used VW convertible. I asked my therapist what he thought.

“What does the car represent to you?” he asked.

“Well, it’s freedom…not caring so much about what others think…and, it’s a little bohemian,” I replied. 

“Then buy the car if you want, but know that it’s these things you really want,” he counseled. I ended up buying the car. It served as a kind of symbol for what I want to manifest in my life. 

Did it make me happy? Yes, I loved it until my ex-partner totaled it (he was okay). Was I happy without it? Yes. I have a wonderful life.

Don’t let me fool you, though. I’m not cured. I still battle the disease of more, but I’ve found that the strongest defense against it is gratitude.   

# # #