A Year to Do No Harm. My 2016 New Year’s Resolution.
Ironically, a couple of weeks ago, as I was scouring an antique warehouse (as I like to do in my free time), I came across a set of wood-carved monkeys. One had its hands over its eyes, one had its hands over its ears, and one had its hands over its mouth. See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. They were sitting on a woven patterned placemat on the bottom shelf of one seller’s block in this giant warehouse. Invisible. I bought them on the spot, and the woven placemat too.
I had been mulling over my New Year’s resolution for some time now, and had gotten tripped up by the idea of “do no harm.” It was simple, but multifaceted. Do no harm to myself. Do no harm to others. Do no harm to my environment. See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. But what did it have in common? Why was I drawn to it? What did it mean to me?
The three wise monkeys, Mizaru (see no evil), Kikazaru (hear no evil), and Iwazaru (speak no evil) originate out of 17th-century (or earlier) Japanese artwork and carvings. I don’t know for certain much about these three little guys other than that they were messengers, reminding people to remain good and just and moral. Strange that today we often twist the concept to support turning a blind eye to things that are not good, unjust, or immoral. The world today desperately needs a resurgence of the exact opposite, which is why I will focusing with more awareness and intensity on what is right, what is just, and what is moral in 2016 and onward.
So how do I bring it together?
See no evil in how I look, talk, or act. Over are the days of comparing myself, degrading myself, and wishing I was different from the person I am. If I want to change for myself, then I will do it.
Speak no evil to myself. It is easy to be one’s hardest critic. It is hard to show oneself the respect and support you would to a friend, family member, or even stranger.
Hear no evil towards myself. Don’t let others’ negative words towards me affect what I think and how I view myself.
See no evil done towards others. Volunteer. Help a friend. Be kind. It is so easy to fall into the trap of self-absorption, and putting others creates a chain reaction of selflessness over selfishness.
Speak no evil to others. I can be quick to react sharply when annoyed or provoked, but there is nothing positive that comes out of speaking negatively about others. Whether it is to their face, behind their backs, or in my head, it is often harmful to the other person and always harmful to me to speak or think that way.
Hear no evil towards others. It’s not enough anymore to just oppose racism, discrimination, sexism, human rights abuses. I must speak up when I see wrongdoings in order to make progress and change.
See no evil done to Earth where I do not consider what a more sustainable alternative might be. Put as many in practice as I can.
Speak no evil by giving a voice to my purchases. With every product I buy, I am inherently supporting that company and its values. Be conscious as to what I buy and who I buy it from.
Hear no evil spoken in lies. Be more knowledgeable. Fight ignorance and hate.
So that is it. Nine resolutions. A year of the monkey. A year of doing no harm. Thinking about it now, this is an incredibly lofty goal, and I will make mistakes, and I will forget things. But it is a set up for a future that is bright and one that I want to move towards. I will apply this in business. Life. Everywhere. And I’ll let you know how it goes.
I’d love to hear your resolution for 2016. Do you even make a resolution? Have you followed through with one? I’ll be mulling over my biz-resolution in the coming weeks and set some important goals that I will hold myself accountable for.
Until then, have a happy and hopeful New Year!