You learn a lot from Buddhism. And while — to the eternal relief of our clients — i am not one to go around spouting bits of Buddhist dogma, my whole approach to communications strategy is profoundly affected by the Buddhadharma.
This week, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will receive the Congressional Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the U.S. gives. It is long overdue, delayed by decades of placating China. Now that we are entering the “WTF were we thinking” phase of our China relationship, Tibet’s exiled ruler — arguably the world’s most famous refugee, can get his due.
So it’s a good week to step back and offer some of the ways that Buddhist teachings can influence modern communications strategy:
+ The whole point of everything is not to gain but to lose. Enlightenment comes when you lose your distraction, your pre-conceptions, and your obscurations. We’re already brilliant. Your organization is already brilliant. We just have to let it out. There’s a deeper level to that lose not gain bit, but we’ll save that for later.
+ When you strip away clutter, brilliance ensues. My teacher frequently inveighs against what he believes to be one of the great scourges of Western society: too much thinking. When you strip away all the ifs, ands, and buts of who your organization is and what it’s all about, your true brand, in its naked accessible simplicity, can shine out.
+ Clarity and openness are more important than gimmicks or cleverness. Nuff said.
+ How you are is more important than what you say. It’s sort of ironic that we spend so much time fussing over “messaging” when the 3,000 other ways we reveal ourselves speak so much louder than the words we choose. Look at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Obama’s supporters are as in love with how he is as they are his policy positions. Hillary’s lead in the polls notwithstanding, people find it difficult to feel connected to her. The lessons are old, but their contemporary value is obvious.
Anyway, don’t take my word for it. Check out this website. Listen to the Dalai Lama’s live webcast. You have nothing to lose but confusion.