Simple Ethics for A Complicated World

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.”
― Arundhati Roy

Ethics are everywhere. We make ethical decisions daily without being conscious of it. Ethics are a part of whether we smile at someone on the street, to how we choose the companies we support, to how we respond to conflict. While we often complicate and confuse ourselves with over thinking, at the heart, ethics are simple and easy to understand. You might call them principles, morals, values, commandments, but each of us has our own basic ethical code that helps us to make choices for what we want (and don’t want). We are not born with built-in ethics or a moral compass, if we were the world would be very different, plus a heck of a lot nicer. Our ethics are learned and then refined through constant practice and hard work-they might be simple but are definitely far from easy!

How do we identify our core ethics?

By zeroing in on the 3 or 4 key pieces of who we are and what we stand for, then seeing where those pieces overlap, and what lies outside of them. In my fancy Venn diagram above I show my three core ethics and how they relate and connect. Creativity, compassion and respect are the core of who I am and how I interact. They also influence my purchasing, communication, and the work I have chosen to do. At the centre, where my ethics overlap, there is love.

Maybe love seems like a major over-simplification, almost silly when we are talking about something heavy like ethics, but I think it is the most serious ethic of all. If your decisions and reactions are based and motivated by love (for self, others, our world) then everything else is reflective of that. Imagine if big business  or policy makers had love as their core motive, above profit or market share, what would our communities look like? A lot like our creative handmade community! We might not be perfect but my experience is that most of us are coming from a place of love, giving us the ability to work through anything with compassion, respect, and creativity.

simple ethics for a complicated world, ethics venn diagram

Why are ethics so important anyway?

Is it worth all the hard work? Yes! A world without ethics is cruel, unjust, selfish and immoral-one where we can all do what we please without care for consequence. Where we don’t even have to make excuses for bad behaviour or hurting another person. Maybe at 16 anarchy sounded like an awesome idea, but as a mama and compassionate human, a total free for all is a terrifying concept. Ethics give our lives and businesses depth, meaning, and purpose. They are the foundation for a life well lived and a business that wants to grow from a place of integrity. Knowing what you stand for and why helps you identify what you don’t want for your life and the world we live in.

I have made a blank worksheet and printable for all of us to get to the heart of our ethics. When we have a clear vision of what matters most we can check in when things don’t feel right or take a step back if  angry, frustrated or dealing with a sticky situation. Remember the ripple effect? These simple ethics ripple outward and gather momentum. In our complicated world sometimes simplicity is exactly what we need most.

Spread the word

Simple ethics for a complicated world! Post + printables via @ohmyhandmade  http://bit.ly/FQrmLL  click to tweet

Ethics should be simple, not easy. Get to the heart of your ethics with @ohmyhandmade  http://bit.ly/FQrmLL  click to tweet

What are your simple ethics? Have they ever been put to the test? Share your stories, ideas and thoughts on simple ethics below-I’ll meet you in the comments!

  • kellie

    Thank you! 🙂

  • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/nicolenorth-rodriguez/ Nicole North Rodriguez

    I think mine would be
    1. Humor before hostility
    2. Encourage creativity
    3. Own who you are

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      Love your ethics Nicole! From all my wonderful connections with you online I can see how well these ethics fit you! Humor before hostility has to be my favouritist of all-can’t wait to publish your post today & share your thoughts:)