I remember being at a corporate branding workshop a couple of years ago.
To help find our brand ‘voice’ we were asked to imagine we were at a protest rally and come up with a sign to express what fires us up. To show our passion.
Others had ideas that were more rousing and certainly more usable than mine, but I offered two options:
“We’ll be ok” and
If I haven’t lost you already let me explain.
It sometimes feels like we are flooded - drowning even - with messages that we are not ok, that the world is not ok, and perhaps most worrying - that nothing can make it ok.
No doubt we’re up against some serious challenges. And no doubt we must face up to our responsibilities.
But I feel we also collectively need some comforting and reassurance.
If we believe the world is crumbling then what do we have to live for? And what future do we have to fight for?
Hence ‘We’ll be ok’.
Because I believe we will be. That is if we believe that we can be. And if we look after one another.
Even during the most troubling times there is enough evidence to find faith in humanity as a positive force.
I said ‘We’ll’ be ok, rather than ‘You’ll’ be ok, because it’s only through unity, empathy and compassion that we can overcome our cultural, political and social challenges.
The concepts I suggested in that workshop sounded insipid when I said them out loud, given the context of a protest rally.
Where’s the protest in ‘We’ll be ok’? And where’s the protest in ‘Love’?
And yes I know - It’s 2023, not 1967.
But in fact I was protesting the very idea of a protest being about conflictIng positions.
I wanted my protest sign to say absolutely nothing inflammatory whatsoever.
What could be more subversive in these times?
And I wanted to sincerely pay homage to that old idea of John Lennon’s. The one about love being all you need.
An idea that has fallen from its hope-and-optimism-filled heights to become a bit of a curious, naive-sounding historical relic.
Sadly we know that this revolutionary idea of the transformative power of love proved to be inadequate in the face of the real world complexities.
But that doesn’t mean it should be discarded. Just like brand visioning exercises it’s about Aspiration and Values.
Who do we want to be? As individuals. As a society. As a global collective of humans.
Perhaps love isn’t quite all we need, but we wouldn’t be making a wrong step if we point ourselves in that direction.
Because we need unity, not division.
At the least it is a much-needed antidote to the alternative ideals we worship.
Or do we like these better:
All you need is Money?
All you need is Fame?
All you need is Power?
All you need is To Be Right?
Love is the most essential and powerful force in human life, capable of overcoming obstacles, fostering understanding, and bringing people together. Love is a universal language.
Through love, compassion and kindness we can transcend the geographical and ideological space that divides us.
That is an unmistakably human trait, powerful enough to connect us and get us through anything.