By Scott Vacek / Vice-President, DCI
DCI events take place every year in 35 cities in 25 countries, with a total audience of almost 30,000 people each year. How did we get here?
It All Began As A Good Idea
In 2009, Geshe Michael Roach was finishing a six-year series of traditional Buddhist programs in the desert of Arizona after having left the corporate life, helping Andin International Diamond Corporation reach huge success in New York City and then doing a traditional 3-year silent meditation retreat in Arizona from 2000 to 2003. He had a dedicated group of about 150 students who worked hard over these six years to learn from a stunning series of traditional courses. I was there, and as this series was drawing to an end, we all began to wonder what was next…
Geshe Michael is known to say “I teach Buddhism (in the traditional way), and 150 people come. If I teach how to apply these concepts to Business, 500 people come. If I teach how to apply them to relationships, 5,000 people come!” This was a logical and natural evolution of everything that we had learned. You might say that the entire point of the Buddhist teachings was to help yourself by helping others– and that the most powerful way to help others is arguably to help them understand the true causes of their successes and failures so that they may use that understanding to produce specific results in all areas of life, ultimately resulting in an ultimate success, which goes by many names.
We identified what we believe are universal truths found in these great ideas and set about a grand experiment: to create a professional, non-religious training company, presenting a universal methodology for success in all areas of business, government and personal life. It became obvious that this was another way of describing leadership, as true leadership is really all about helping others at its core. If you have ever had the privilege to work for a true leader, you may have found that they often spend an unusual time caring for the well-being and success of those in their organization, their country, their government, their family, or their immediate circle. We weren’t setting out to teach Buddhism—we were setting out to teach what we believed these ideas were always meant to be: a universal system for ultimate success.
And So, DCI Was Born In 2010
The first four years of the company’s history were chaotic. We had not defined a corporate brand, and it was probably not clear to many people what exactly we were trying to do. Geshe Michael appeared in DCI events wearing both a business suit and monk’s robes, and so I think that many people just assumed that it was Geshe Michael doing some new kind of Buddhist teaching, which had something to do with business.
In the second four year “era” of DCI’s history, we made great efforts to use what we had learned from the first era to grow. We made a very clear decision to try to be all-business in order to begin to build a corporate brand. By this time, we had developed relationships with about 20 businesses around the world who we still work with today, who act as our agents in creating DCI events in our 35 annual cities. Many people who were familiar with DCI at this point may have preferred that we just focused on a very straight religious presentation, and so our decision was not comfortable for some. After all, we were heretics to some extent– It is customary not to charge a fee for traditional Buddhist teachings, because they are considered to be so precious that they are quite literally priceless…. but here we were: charging a professional training fee for our events in the same way as some of the most well-known trainers and motivators in the world. We knew that the people who loved Buddhist ideas would most likely be great supporters of our efforts, but if our ultimate goal was to engage the hearts and minds of people who did not and will never have any interest in religion or philosophy, then we needed to demonstrate value and make the system accessible, non-threatening, and even attractive and intriguing to professionals, entrepreneurs and governmental officials alike. We found that, by charging a professional fee for our programs, professional realized that we take our system seriously, and they have responded by appearing at our events! The more we have shown respect and care for our own system, the more we are seeing accomplished entrepreneurs, governmental officials and other professionals show up.
What’s So Exciting About DCI?
I believe that we are all intrigued by the universal core concepts. Why does it feel so good to do something for someone else? Why does it feel right when I help another person, another company, or another country? Many of us were raised to believe that it is “good and right” to be of service to others… but nobody ever taught me before that it is productive! We have a natural instinct to want to be of service, and be an agent of positive change, but if you’re like me, you never knew why. Now I understand why: because it’s basically the purpose of life. If it’s true that the key to my ultimate success lies in simply helping others to achieve their own ultimate success, then it would stand to reason that deep down I can sense the visceral “click” that tells me instinctively I’m doing the right thing, even if my training in university or the school of hard knocks keeps telling me otherwise—that I’m being foolish and naïve. Every natural leader can relate to this….and it turns out that we are all natural leaders. This is one of the most exciting things about DCI: helping people wake up to the fact that there is a natural leader inside them, waiting to explode onto the scene to finally step into their final and ultimate role.
The Hardest Working Man In Show Business
Geshe Michael has been a machine when it comes to turning out the materials which form the backbone of the “DCI System”. I often think of him as the ‘hardest working man in show business’, much like we like to think of the late great James Brown. You might say that he is obsessed, in a very good way, with his ongoing work of translating great works into universal ASCII code so that it can then be read and dissected by the team of young translators he is training. There are very few people in the world who have both this ability and the intense drive to translate, translate, translate. He has a great sense of urgency about this. In the many airports we pass through on the way to 35 cities every year, it is very common for him to sit down on the floor and whip out his macbook just to steal 5 minutes here and ten minutes there to continue the translation work. I think it’s easy to relate to this: If you were the only person who could decode a script that gave the cure for AIDS or cancer, then I guess you would feel the same urgency about getting it decoded and available to people…and I see this as the same thing. The ideas found in these great books are believed by some to unlock the secrets behind all of the mistakes I have ever made in my life (which is a LOT!), and so it might be beneficial if I learned them.
Geshe Michael has extremely unique and rare abilities to understand and translate the great ancient sources that make up the training modules we teach, and this makes the DCI product an absolutely unique thing. This is one of the things that gives our programs great value. Because of Geshe Michael’s work, we are able to present a fantastically diverse group of tools and modules, all of which come directly and accurately from some of the greatest ancient books known to man. We didn’t make the system up, and we only present what Geshe Michael has made accessible in modern form.
DCI Events Around The World
The value of the DCI system and DCI events worldwide also comes from the intense effort we have put into organizing the presentation and sequencing of these “LifeTools”, and into creating an interactive experience for participants of DCI “City Intensives” and “Accelerators” around the world. I believe that our event guests can sense deeply that we have put an enormous amount of thought into what we do, and we have a deep desire for them to be able to understand and integrate the ideas into their daily lives in business, government and family life. This is not all just out of a sense of benevolence…you could say that we do this out of a sense of enlightened self-interest. If it is true that what I do to help others is the direct cause of every success I have -and have ever had- then it would make sense that the smartest thing I could do would be to make a lifestyle out of helping other people in some deep way. If these ideas are correct, then the smartest thing I could do with my life -and the thing which will create every success I can imagine in my own life- would be to devote myself to helping other people to learn and use these ideas. In that sense, Orit and I feel that our life of worldwide touring on DCI events is the smartest and most fortunate life that we could possibly have!
Now today, after more than eight years of experience under our belts with DCI, we are seeing an exciting future appearing. Our worldwide network of DCI “Partner/Organizers” is collaborating on a bonfire of new ideas, and we are constantly working to stay ahead of the wave of innovation coming from Geshe Michael’s translation and writing work. DCI events in 35 cities every year are constantly spawning new groups of excited users of the “DCI Seed System”, who want systematic ways to put the ideas to work in
their personal lives and in organized ways in their communities and countries. In the early years of DCI we might see 150 to 200 people in a public lecture in any given city, and now today we are seeing beautiful, excited audiences of 2,500 and 3,000, such as most recently in Kuala Lumpur and the Taipei International Convention Center. Strong corporate sponsors are appearing, recognizing the many aspects to the DCI brand that bring them value by association: Leadership. Success. Community Support. It’s all there. It is incredibly inspiring to stand on a stage in front of 3,000 screaming people, who came to learn a systematic way to achieve their own success by first helping others achieve theirs. What a life. Every time I step onto a stage like this, I think about what it took to get there, and why we got there, and it usually gets me a little choked up. I have to shake it off to be able to talk to the audience! I can honestly say that we can see that it is our intention to help the people in the audience that has resulted in whatever success we have today personally and as a company, and we believe firmly that as long as we maintain that motivation, the company and the people in it will grow.
Sedona College of International Management
The worldwide demand for DCI events has far outrun our ability to provide them! We knew some years ago that this was likely to happen, and in 2013 we began planning an organized way to train and qualify new DCI teachers. Thanks to Orit’s education and dedication to high-quality training and communication, we were able to design a well-crafted system of instruction, and in 2016 we began taking applications for our first professional DCI Teacher-Training intensives. In early 2017, we held our first 15-day intensives at our brand new Sedona College of International Management (SCIM) facility, in a beautiful setting about an hour and a half north of Phoenix. As of this writing, we are moving toward finishing our second year of trainings with great results. We accept 35 professionals for the DCI Teacher-Training Track out of all applications we receive, and another 20 or so are involved in an intensive Translator-Training Track, which is developing a new team of hard-core experts who can continue the extremely challenging work of decoding the ancient books and making them available in modern form, in modern books and new DCI LifeTools.
Room For Everybody On The DCI Train
The annual schedule is a bit of a horse-race, toggling back and forth between DCI events in 35 cities, SCIM Academic Sessions, and a variety of other programs hosted by DCI executives and/or Geshe Michael himself. In addition to the public audiences and VIP networking groups that make up many of our events around the world, we are developing strategic alliances with professional groups such as Young President’s Organization and Business Network International, and we look forward to great growth in these areas. Our ultimate goal is not so much to benefit personally through these partnerships, but really to reach more people through these networks. We do believe that our efforts to improve the businesses and personal lives of others through networking this way will be the direct cause of our own personal success. That’s the DCI system in a nutshell.
In many large events around the world these days one of us will introduce the program by doing a short presentation we call “DCI Around The World”, in which we show some images of other events around the world, to allow the audience to see that they are a part of something much, much larger….that there are tens of thousands of like-minded people out there in other cities and countries—their faces look a little different, and they speak a different language— but they are all asking the same questions. Everybody wants success—they just sometimes describe it in different ways. We see their eyes open in recognition of the beauty of it all, and a desire to connect with the other cities and countries in pursuit of a collaborative, cumulative win-win…success for all.
We are always working on new ways to connect these newly inspired “Seed-System” users, and in general doing our best to stay ahead of the oncoming tidal wave of continuously growing DCI events! We hope that you will join us at a DCI event soon. There is room for everybody on this train. We are having a great time doing what we believe is our lives’ work, and I’ve got to tell you: there is no better feeling than that.
You can always read more stories about what’s happening in the DCI world on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/diamondcutterinstitute