Today’s thought from the Dalai Lama comes from the section on “Meditations on Pessimism”. His Holiness’ country has been taken from him, he has been exiled, his countrymen have been tortured and massacred by the Chinese. He describes all that, with typical understatement, as “no cause for jubilation”. And yet he manages to find in it some good – that he has seen countries he otherwise wouldn’t, and he has been exposed to cultures he otherwise wouldn’t understand, and had the opportunity to incorporate other world views in his thinking.
So how does that relate to the world of business and normal life? Well, instead of dwelling on the bad effects of what goes wrong for us, we can choose to find the positive outcomes in the changes we end up having to make. That’s not to say that we should welcome hardships – the Dalai Lama clearly isn’t pleased about Chinese oppression of the Tibetan way of life – but we can certainly make the effort to find our particular cloud’s silver lining.
If you have a customer complaint – take the opportunity to learn what processes or products didn’t work the way they were supposed to, and put them right.
If you lose a major client – take the opportunity to understand what they thought was missing, and add it in for your remaining business (actually, maybe you might want to do this one before they defect. Just sayin’)
If you’re losing ground to a competitor – take the opportunity to research their offer, and understand why the market thinks it’s better than yours.
And if the worse come to the worst1, and your business goes bust – you can make it an opportunity to join the myriad ranks of successful entrepreneurs who have learned what they needed for their current enormous success form their past small failures. It’s known as failing forward. Richard Branson put it very well: “just remember that most businesses fail and the best lessons are usually learned from failure. You must not get too dispirited. Just get back up and try again.”
1 compared to torture, getting killed, massacres, exile, etc losing your business is really kind of minor, but in context it’s as bad as it gets.
I bought a neat little book recently - "365 Dalai Lama" - as the title suggests, it's a daily thought from the Dalai Lama. My plan is to use each thought as the inspiration for a blog - and linking the fluffy woo-woo elements to real-world solutions in business and life.