The Buddhist and the Digital RoadMap

Apr 05, 2012 Comments Off by

My friend Brian

My old friend,  trainer and motivator Brian Leaning-Mizen had this little story amongst the gems in his newsletter this morning.  I like it – and wanted to share it here.

An aging Bhuddist master grew weary of his apprentice, constantly complaining about his life, so one morning, he instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. 
“How does it taste?” the master asked. 
“Bitter,” spat the apprentice. 

The master then asked the young man to take another handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.” 
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?” 

“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice. 

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master. 

“No,” said the young man. 

The master explained, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. 

“Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”


Pain and Digital Business Planning

You may wonder about the connection between this story and smarter web strategies.  Many people seem to prefer to grumble and complain about their business and how tough things are getting.  I think it is always important to be able to rise above the drama of your own situation and see the big picture of life and business – and figure out smarter ways to move forward.

Essentially, these days you either have a Digital Roadmap or you risk becoming Digital Roadkill. (It’s becoming a bit of a theme in workshops and presentations I’ve been giving lately.)

Your Digital RoadMap needs to be thorough, but not complicated.  Your business exists in a complex world, but your road map for the future does not need to be complex.

Your  Digital RoadMap helps focus you and your team on achieving your business objectives through the better and smarter use of digital technology.  It’s about working with the trends rather than against them, and selecting the right tools and right help along the way.

It’s partly about removing pain – but some pain in business is normal and natural, In fact, hoping for a pain-free business might be nice but a pain-free business probably means you are not stretching yourself enough.

You Choose Your Plans and Your Perspectives

Ultimately, your Digital RoadMap needs to help you achieve the important things in life.  For the people I tend to work with, the business provides the means to have a better (and preferably great)  life. Your business is not your life, and you are not your business. As much as you may feel defined by your business, you are much more than your business.

All things must change. Being a big business today does not mean you will stay big tomorrow. And being small today does not necessarily mean you will grow larger in the future.

How you go tomorrow may come down to the quality of your Digital RoadMap for the future – and how well you make it happen. In the online digital world, the future seems to belong to those who are

  • the strongest not the largest (and strength usually comes from strong networks);
  • the most resilient (with the capabilities to grow stronger with new challenges, not just bounce back)
  • the most adaptable (rapid evolution requires rapid iteration);
  • the most agile & flexible (a good roadmap gives you guidance but does not lock you in to using a specific road);
  • the fastest to move in meaningful and intentional straight lines (not buzzing all over the place like a blowfly)
  • able to organize the right help, support and resources  (you can’t know and do everything yourself); and
  • not caught in your own legacy traps or lulled into arrogant complacency by your past or present successes.

The future will not belong to any business that is self-focused on its own pain and too slow or too confused  to move.

If you are going to focus on pain, focus on removing the pain of your customers.  And better still, focus on helping YOUR customers remove the pain of THEIR customers. And use the digital age trends to do it smarter!

How you move and in what direction you move is up to you.  Your plans are your choice.

And as the Buddhist monk taught his apprentice, your choices in life often come down to how you see the world and your sense of things. 

Your perspective is your choice.

Strategies & Roadmap, The Big Picture
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