Having worked with NASA, Fortune 500 CEOs and Olympic athletes, and having written numerous best-selling books on personal achievement, such as “The Psychology of Winning” and “Seeds of Greatness”, it might come as a surprise to some that Denis authored a book titled “Safari to the Soul” as well. “Safari to the Soul” was written long after his initial books on success and I see this book as a culmination, an evolution, of the wisdom Denis gained from those years in the arena of personal development now being expanded to encompass more of a universal, dare I say “spiritual” context. As such, “Safari to the Soul” might well be the most profound book he has written thus far.
“Safari to the Soul” was derived from Dennis Waitley’s personal experience while on safari in the Masai Mara in Kenya and he shares his adventure using a combination of journal entries and introspective dialogue. More than just a travel log, Denis takes his experiences from the safari and he interweaves them with the profound realizations that came to him during, and after, his time in Africa.
The interconnectedness between the Masai people, the animals and their environment and how each one has a role to play in assuring mutual survival is not a concept limited to the wilds of Africa, but rather a concept that applies to everyone on this planet regardless where we live. Seeing this symbiotic relationship and being able to absorb the information in an environment free from all the sensory stimuli that pervades Western Society, Denis came to some personal realizations that can apply to all of humanity. Some of the insights that Denis shares are:
“With each species of wildlife that becomes extinct, a part of us dies as well. In West Africa, the elephants of Timbuktu are the only large mammals remaining in the region. What we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”
“Most of us are trying to be cheetahs. We charge through our lives as if life were a race finish first.”
“…while there are dangers in trying to become a leader without thoroughly knowing your field, there also dangers in thinking of yourself as an expert–especially the danger losing your sense of wonder. Instead of being driven by curiosity, you become driven to defend what you’ve previously researched, invented, created, marketed or published. Reciting safe answers now, you stop saying the liberating words, ‘I don’t know.’”
“Serenity is achieved when you learn to convert failure into fertilizer, stumbling blocks into stepping stones, and misfortunes into learning experiences.”
While some of the aforementioned insights might already be familiar to those readers who are interested in the Spiritual/New Age genre, when they are combined with Denis’ personal experience, they make for an engaging read. With a high level of personal disclosure Denis reminds us that personal achievement/success is not a term that can be universally applied and it evolves into different forms as we ourselves evolve.
One final note - the book opens up with a substantial amount of detail about the people who run the safari company and their history, and, while it will be useful for those wanting to go there at some point in the future, me being one of them, some people might find it too lengthy.