As I think about Gary’s personal sacrifice as he builds out a new farm for us up in cold BC, Canada, I’ve been considering all the things people say about him, both good and bad. Some call him “crazy,” others the “maverick” or “guru” of the modern day essential oil movement. As with most leaders of movements that change the world, everyone seems to have an opinion of him.
Another title I love that describes the spirit of what Gary represents is that of “Shokunin.” A traditional Japanese title, “Shokunin” or “craftsman” could well encapsulate all the best of Gary. Shokunin are individuals who care deeply about their craft, but even this literal description doesn’t fully express the full meaning of the word. They care passionately, even spiritually, about their work-- to the point of the utmost personal sacrifice. They don’t care for money, but only to improve the world through the perfection of their craft, so the world is in some way better off because of them. They see what they do as an art form that must be perfected every day, faithfully. They never rest and are rarely tired (paradoxically) because they are doing what they were meant to do: living their purpose through their work. Tasio Odate, Japanese artist, further elaborates:
“The shokunin has a social obligation to work his best for the general welfare of the people. This obligation is both spiritual and material, in that no matter what it is, the shokunin’s responsibility is to fulfill the requirement.”
Gary is the true craftsman of the art of the cultivation, distillation and quality testing of essential oils. Comparable to none. He excels at it not only because he’s done if for decades, but because for him it’s as natural as flying is for an eagle, or swimming for a fish: it’s what he was meant to do.
Recent observations of his shokunin spirit include the personal physical sacrifices he is experiencing in Canada for the greater good of getting more pure oils to the world. When Gary told us recently that he is never warm. The only time he’s able to “thaw out” is a couple of hours after he tucks in his bed late at night after a long and arduous day at the farm. And it’s not just the brutal cold: he has cuts and bruises all over his body as a result of his drive to beat the deep winter clock and get you the oils you love.
I don’t say this to make you feel guilty or bad in any way. I do it to show you that what we have in him, and his dedication to his craft, is immeasurably valuable to all of us. Remember, he loves what he’s doing and is meant to do it.
Now it’s incumbent on us, as the recipients of this shokunin gift, to tell the story. To connect others to the Young Living “why” and continue the revolution in wellness Gary started decades ago. We strive to help you to tell this story via our emphasis on our Seed to Seal corporate ethos as evidenced in our farm-centric events, the ongoing re-brand, and our marketing materials that tell the Seed to Seal story (check out SeedToSeal.com).
Now if you look around on the Internet you will see that our detractors (including competitors) are attacking on all sides. They know they are shadows of what we are and what we stand for—and they don’t like it. They know they can’t compete with our original, authentic and rich narrative, so they attack the source of the strength of that narrative: Gary Young. We’re ok with that and will continue telling our story, and defending our virtue as the originators and leaders of the essential oil movement. Nobody can run from the fact that Gary created a culture and ethos of wellness and empowerment that has lasted for decades—and will last for decades more. Typically, with a little research, most people find this out for themselves.
The bottom line for me is that whatever our competitors want to call Gary, they can’t call him a copycat. They can’t call him an imitator. Hopefully at a minimum they acknowledge he’s the real deal and taught them everything they know about essential oils. Maybe instead of attacking, it’s time they give credit where credit is due. But guess what, Gary won’t be listening to any apologies; he’s too busy working in Canada to make the world a better place, one drop at a time.
But in case you still want to call Gary “crazy,” well, that may not be so bad either. Just ask Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple:
“Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”