Over my many years, 23 years in fact, of working in the filed of Occupational Health, Safety and protecting the Environment, I have witnessed my fair share of horrific accidents, property damage and environmental degradation.
As my experiences grew, I began to think I had seen it all and that I would be immune to any new events that caused harm, but not so. When confronting another injured body part or worse still, the families of a deceased loved one, something very deep inside me stirred and it was this stirring that spurred me on to want to find a solution to the human suffering I was confronting.
Now I know that may sound a little Buddha-like, so let’s narrow that last statement down to finding more effective ways to prevent people hurting themselves and others, along with tearing up valuable assets and be-spoiling the environment along the way.
Industry, in its infancy from the beginning of the Industrial Age, has gone through many processes to alleviate personal injuries, property damage and pollution. We have progressed from really abysmal treatment of labouring children and the workforce in general, through the “Quality Movement”, which produced acres of procedures that had to be diligently followed and documented and emerged into the realm of behavioural science. And while conditions have vastly improved in most countries and places of work, we still manage to cause harm.
So, if having all the right procedures in place and tracking patterns of human behaviour with the correct remedial actions has not got us to a point where we are reducing the risks and threat of harm, where to we turn to now?
Enter stage left, Cause No Harm and let me make it abundantly clear from the onset, this is not the be-all and end-all of alleviating all forms of harm on the planet, but it is a step in the right direction, it does WORK and is worthy of consideration.
If human behaviour, as it has done for thousands of years, can result in us causing harm to ourselves, to others, to assets, to the immediate environment and to the planet as a whole, not to mention the quality and standard of living to future generations, is a source of the problem and we have tackled behavioural patterns and still harm is created, then we better start investigating deeper. Do you agree?
From my observation and those of others, the sequence leading up to a certain behaviour, goes like this:
Perception – Perspective – Beliefs – Behaviours
Let me elaborate. We use our five senses of smell, touch, hearing, taste and sight to experience our outer world, plus our sixth sense of intuition; that sense of “knowing” something without any logical explanation.
As we are exposed to the same perceptions on a regular basis, we form a perspective on how things are – this is how it is for us. Then as this perspective is reinforced, we form a belief about a subject or subjects and from our belief, emanates our behaviour. Tracing it backwards, our behaviours have a direct correlation with our beliefs, which are formed by our perspective, which is influenced by our perception.
And where and when do we form our foundational perceptions, perspectives and beliefs? Yes, you guessed it – from our early childhood, through observing our parents, siblings and teachers, etc. What we learn between birth and seven years of age, has a profound effect on how we will behave as adults, within our relationships, at work or play and for most of us, our parenting style. In short our behavioural patterns get passed on to our children and now it is time to break those patterns and become conscious parents, skilled partners, caring supervisors or bosses and part of the collective family of human beings who consider it unacceptable to cause harm.
The Cause No Harm cultural change process, is also an awakening or increasing awareness process that lifts us out of the mire of separateness, superiority and fear and takes us to a new paradigm of sustainability for the entire human race, other species with whom we share this planet and to Mother Earth, that living entity who provides us with everything we need in order to survive and grow.
So we are being challenged to observe our own behaviour and inspect our beliefs and perspectives on how we view the world and where they result in causing harm, to turn them around to causing no harm.
Are you up to the challenge?