In the midst of talks on “marketing,” “driving business forward” and “creating competitive advantages” this week at SB’16 Copenhagen, Sirikul “Nui” Laukaikul - founder of the Brandbeing Consultant and representing the Thailand Sustainable Development Foundation (TSDF) - started her talk with a simple ask: “Smile.”
Such a simple word triggers a simple act, which then reminded everyone in the room to breathe and reconnect with their inner mind. And your mind is where Nui aims to make transformation happen as she introduced the “sufficiency economy philosophy,” from her King in Thailand.
What’s a sufficiency economy?
According to Nui, it is “a philosophy that stresses the middle path as an overriding principle for appropriate conduct by all people in their lives.” The philosophy was elaborated by His Majesty King Bhumibol over the past 40 years as Thailand’s 21st-century path.
The King stated these five key points in his speech:
- The importance of establishing sensible and non-excessive material goals. While he recognizes that material possessions are important to people, he urges us to not to overdo it.
- The importance of avoiding unnecessary risk in the pursuit of material aspirations. In other words, don’t compromise your children’s future (resources, money & opportunities) for buying things now.
- The desirability of attaining self-reliance. Not the same as Gandhi’s “self-sufficiency,” the King sees that it is not enough to rely on oneself but that trading with others is necessary.
- Doing all this while still maintaining concern for the protection of others. If you are only think of doing this for yourself, you are being selfish again. You should always think about other people and try to help them achieve the sufficiency goal.
- Paying attention to the nonmaterial aspect of life. We need to go beyond material. Self-realization can be achieved from helping other people.
This is a essentially a Buddhist philosophy about moderation, to bring balance to a brand, a lifestyle and real needs and available resources:
“Our problems mainly come from two groups of people: those who say ‘not enough’ and those who say ‘never enough’,” Nui said. “Such is the greed that powers us to chase after the never-ending ‘more’.” As she pointed out, such unchecked greed often triggers a series of bad karma.
As all noteworthy philosophies, SEP has a whole system that consists of a comprehensive set of ideas that works together in three main aspects:
- Moderation - self-actualization.
- Reasonableness – self-rationalization.
- Prudence - self-immunity.
Powered by knowledge and virtue, neither is neglectable.
Only then can we reach the desired, balanced outcomes:
- Contentment on a personal level
- An inclusive sharing economy at the community level
- Sustainable development at the national and global level
During Nui’s lunch presentation, we dove deeper into the ideas, and some audience members shared some personal and business struggles of reaching the balance. It is not easy “not to be the tiger” in such a competitive economy, but the recent global financial crisis should have given people more reflection space upon the current fast-paced system, to re-examine where exactly we are going.
It certainly takes courage at the personal and company level to say “enough.” But the reward is more personal freedom and an “admired brand.”
Nui is very clear in her value proposition:
“What’s your goal?
If you want to be rich, I cannot help you.
If you want to be happy, I can help you to build something meaningful.”