Let's start with a cup of tea.
A green tea from PT Harendong, an Japanese artisan tea farm that was introduced to me by Kyoto Obubu Tea. I've been a long time fan of Obubu Tea, who is now a part of a collective of Japanese products under the newly formed Yunomi.us. In order to give the world access to Japanese artisan tea farms, family-owned tea businesses, teaware artists and small manufactureres, and in turn provide a gateway to the world for these Japanese small businesses, Yunomi.us connects the dots and provides a online marketplace. What a difference this exposure can make to so many individuals and families, especially many of whom who are in the Tohoku region of Japan that was so devastated by the 2011 earthquake and Tsunami.
I love that some individuals got together, saw an opportunity to share their expertise in promotion, manufacturing, exporting, online retail, etc. and applied it to the betterment of their local communities, to their own jurisdiction.
What is that bumper sticker?
William James, renowned psychologist, said, "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
I think as a society, we've lost this notion. With the rising popularity of all things social media, we have learned to say or post whatever we want, whenever we want. The consequences, intended or otherwise, don't seem to come into play. The Golden Rule sometimes seems like an antiquated notion. "Do unto others as you would have done unto you."
The reality is, however, that what we do and say (or post, or tweet) absolutely has an impact on others. Intentionally or unintentionally, what we do does make a difference to someone.
I see this so vividly in moments when my 4-year-old sees someone she knows from a distance and she yells a greeting and the person doesn't acknowledge her greeting. I try to explain that the person hadn't heard her, but she is crushed at the perceived rejection. I also see this in business communications that are written IN ALL CAPS. "Why are you yelling at me?" I think to myself, as we all do when we receive such communications. These are unintentional slights, but the sting is as potent as if intentional.
Today I intend to think before I act to try and examine if what I'm about to do or say will hurt or diminish someone. How many times will we catch ourselves? How many bumps and bruises will be avoided? I'd like to hear your thoughts.