Many of you will be familiar with the term: Ease of Doing Business, or E.O.D.B., an index that measures regulations which directly affect business. It has ten subindices like starting a new business, dealing with construction permits, getting credit, etc. with which the regulatory framework — hence, the consequent easiness or lack of it — of doing business in a country is evaluated and ranked. New Zealand, for example, has been consistently topping the list since 2017.
Is there a set of regulatory code of conduct for man that directly impacts easiness or difficulty with which he lives his life? This thought flashed my mind while I was reading an article on E.O.D.B. recently. Such a code of conduct ought to be there, for doing life with ease is not an easy thing and that it is highly likely that nature has postulated a set of criteria for man, like it did for other creatures, to do a life of easiness. Understanding those regulatory criteria can tell us where we stand with respect to the easiness that life offers; also, it can be used for midcourse correction if any. This, however, is easier said than done because though understanding the nature’s parameters of easiness is not an uphill task, practicing them is undoubtedly a difficult feat. Nonetheless, the scope for its practice is alive because many rightly say that life is not easy, as well as due to the fact that easiness and difficulty lie on either side of a single spectrum.
A universal truth that I am obliged to consider at this stage is that physical well-being, barring physical labor, is a consequence of mental easiness. Ease of Doing Life, or E.O.D.L., therefore, is the direct output of mental easiness. So the factors that have a regulatory influence on easiness in life have unfailing influence on our thought process. It is unfailing because not only does their presence have an assurance of easiness but their absence can also produce diametrically opposite and disastrous outcomes for a man. Hence, the regulatory framework of living a life of easiness is a proposition of live it or leave it, with no relative gray matter like in a black and white chessboard.
More clarity about the definition of easiness — hence, E.O.D.L — is required to further read through this blog. Easiness is the integral attribute that ensures wholesome flow of life through a logically consequent track when the related, guiding and binding variables are steadfastly met. So Ease of Doing Life is the life’s assembly line whose flawless movement is regulated by unequivocally established, non-negotiable and inherent factors capable of ensuring that when events and incidents happen, they pass out in their natural flow. These factors, like the subindices of E,O.D.B., form a set of criteria which we can call as the nature’s code of conduct for man. And they are forgiveness, honesty, integrity, righteousness and optimism. Let’s look in detail at each one of these regulatory codes of easiness, along with their possible linkages.
Forgiveness is the capability to absorb, neutralize and disperse injustice meted out by others by overcoming the feeling of retribution. It is a win by man over himself, independent of who causes injustice to him. The most striking saying about forgiveness is this: forgive and forget. Forgiveness is complete when you can forget the incident for which you forgave someone. But man has a penchant to not completely disengage himself from the past sour incidents even after he walked past them, so it is possible that the sour incidents can inadvertently flash through his mind. Along with forgiving, if you can completely forget the incident, then it is the best service you can do to yourself. However, if you succumb to that flash through the memory line, and as long as the flash disappears at the same speed with which it hits you, you are as good as a person who can forgive and forget. In this context, it is interesting to look at the difference between history and past-history. When an incident is buried beyond the redemptive powers of memory, history becomes past-history. If you can convert the history of sour incidents into past-history, then you have mastered the art of forgiveness.
The virtue of forgiveness offers plateful of returns beyond man’s expectation. It gives man equanimity of being at ease with himself, a prerequisite to be at ease with his surroundings. Forgiveness gives man more time for himself — to plan and do things for his future — by freeing him from wasting his valuable time in preparing plans of retribution. The eternal contribution of forgiveness is it gives man the feeling that he has no enemies in this world because his mental-make is such that anyone who considers himself/herself as his enemy and does harm to him ceases to be an enemy as far as he is concerned — injustices will be absorbed into and neutralized in the default pot of forgiveness, so his ease with himself will be nonchalantly protected.
Honesty is the principle of telling truth. Being honest or not is a personal choice and has its consequence; this consequential effect is a regulatory factor that generates or degenerates Ease of Doing Life. We need to differentiate between comfort and easiness as both are not one and the same. Let me illustrate the difference by asking a question: are you comfortable with being dishonest? If the answer is yes, it means that you can comfortably live with dishonesty, but that does not mean that this comfort can bring easiness in your life for, otherwise, there is no room for realization for a dishonest person. Indisputably, dishonesty can give comforts, but these comforts will always have questions seeking the reasons for their existence, and the inclement answers for these questions have the potency to take the easiness out of the comforts. On the other hand, easiness that honesty offers is non-subsiding and non-disappearing because it does not accompany ruffling questions.
Integrity is that part of your being without which you are as good as walking dead. It is something with which man identifies himself, so does the world. Integrity is the repository of elements that stems up the values with which a man operationalizes his character. In short, integrity is the base on which all other virtues are built up. It is impossible for a man to be honest or ethical after compromising his integrity. Integrity is the foundation of values that form the DNA of man’s character. It regulates your behavior as much as you allow it to do so, meaning if a man is a man of integrity, he is bound to attract and reflect all other virtues of goodness, guiding the life to move through the natural path of easiness.
Righteousness is the judgment based on facts, so it is irrefutably objective. Righteousness does not need a reason to exist as it is the reason by itself. It is the yardstick to segregate the deserved from the undeserved. Righteousness is so important a factor that its absence is tantamount to a man without soul. The Holy Bible asks, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” The answer is nothing as man becomes a thinking machine of flesh and blood but hollow from inside if he loses the soul. Righteousness is the soul’s regulatory intervention to guide man along the path of truth in the material world.
Optimism is the practical side of hope. It is the energy drawn from the hope for a better future. Hope, even when it is a ray, creates so much energy and enthusiasm that man tends to forget the drudgery he is in. Optimism does not optimize the radiant energy from hope, rather it is the maximization of hope in present value terms — so optimism is the net present value of hope. How does optimism have a regulatory influence on man? To get up in the morning and begin the day on a positive note needs something to look forward to — the hope of a good day or the feeling that something good is on the way for you. That optimism has a huge bearing on how a man conducts himself during the course of a day.
Though these regulatory attributes of life of easiness are not mutually exclusive, effectiveness of each one has a considerable peripheral influence on others. For example, without possessing integrity, a person’s penchant to be honest can be debilitated because honesty is most tested when it is least demanded. Similarly, it is possible of being honest without being righteous, but man can never be righteous without being honest. Forgiveness and optimism are indirectly linked as forgiveness can kill pessimism, and when pessimism is dead, it is most conducive for the seeds of optimism to sprout. Irrespective of counting or discounting the linkages among the five factors for Ease of Doing Life, each one offers its own share of easiness when man puts it into action. Which of the attributes gives more or less easiness is only an academic question, but each gives energy to live life with easiness.
It will be an incomplete attempt if I try to give numerical value to human virtues. However, to draw a parallel with E.O.D.B., let me assign nominal values to the five factors of easiness. Unlike the subindices of E.O.D.B.. the factors of East of Doing Life can be given nominal values of only 1 and -1 as the highest and the lowest metrics respectively because they are characteristically come under ‘either or’ clause. You can be honest(1) or dishonest(-1) with no option of being a partially or occasionally honest person as similar as there is nothing called half-truth, for truth is absolute. Similarly, you do or do not have integrity; you are optimistic or pessimistic; and your sense of righteousness is either operationalized or shelved. So a numerical value of 5 is the best score for Ease of Doing Life, and -5 being the worst. Here, the positive and negative scores do not neutralize each other, meaning loss of easiness of one factor, say, righteousness, can not be compensated by the easiness of the another factor, say, honesty. For example, a score of 3 is always accompanied with -2 in a non-neutralizing combination: similarly, 2 and -3, 5 and 0, etc. Lower the positive score, lesser the easiness of life man enjoys. And a minus 5 score completely scores out the easiness that life offers. On the contrary, when a man scores a rank of 5 across these factors, he unquestionably and impeccably lives with the easiness life offers.
Life is not easy and has given us the tough task of finding and following the unflinching factors of easiness to live with. So Ease of Doing Life is a choice whose efficacy is regulated, hence, guaranteed when man lives his life under the guiding factors of forgiveness, honesty, integrity, righteousness and optimism.