The Platinum Rule

I was thinking about the Golden Rule: “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.”  I think this is a fantastic way to live life. If you are always treating others the way that you wish to be treated, you are guaranteed to treat others with respect and kindness.  At least I hope that is the way you want to be treated.

That last sentence is where I think that the trouble comes in.  What if you want to be treated hostilely. What if you are a masochist and pain gives you pleasure?  What if you prefer people to lie to you so that you can continue to live in a fantasy world of your own creation?

With those thoughts in mind, I would lobby for the creation of the Platinum Rule.  The Platinum Rule would be “Do onto others as they wish done to them.”  This rule would be more difficult to follow, I know.  It would require that we pay attention to those around us, listen to what they are saying and care about how they really think and feel.  It would require doing that with everyone, and not just those we love or respect.

A simple example: my wife likes to prepare an entire meal herself and have everything done so that we can just sit down and eat.  This is fantastic!  When she makes dinner, I get to sit back and relax or come home to a fabulous meal.  The issue comes with the salad.  She and I like our salads in very different ways.  So if she puts it together for me, I am not complaining, it is still a good salad.  But if she just left it for me to put together myself, I would have the exact salad that makes me the most happy.  To her, this seems like she is not doing everything she can for me.  To me, it seems like she is doing it for me and not letting me create it the way that I want.  If she followed the Golden Rule, I would still be plenty happy.  But if she followed the Platinum Rule, I would be happiest.

How about an example a little more broad than salad: recently, I was talking with my friend Niel.  He is from South Dakota and is good friends with many Native Americans.  He was talking about how in their culture, it is seen as a sign of disrespect and aggression to look someone in the eye.  If you did not know that and followed the Golden Rule, you would feel slighted that a Native American that you are talking too would not look you in the eye.  And if they noticed you looking them in the eye, they would feel threatened.  But if you employed the Platinum Rule and found out that it is a sign of respect to not look them in the eye, you would be on a better footing much sooner.

These are my reasons for thinking that the Platinum Rule far outshines the Golden Rule.  The Platinum Rule requires that you listen to others.  The Platinum Rule asks you to stop and think before you do what you think is right, and consider whether the other people involved will think it is right.  The Platinum Rule opens your way of thinking to let other people’s views and perceptions in.  It creates collaboration and an environment of trust and respect.

What do you think about the Platinum Rule?

~Ryan Lynch

5 thoughts on “The Platinum Rule

  1. Nice thought, but (strangely enough) I have some counterpoints for you brother. 1. The whole salad thing comes across as you complaining that your wife doesn’t wait on you in the proper way ( : BUT I do understand what you’re thinking and realize that you’re not that kind of guy so did not mean for it to come across that way. My counterpoint being, are you treating her with the platinum rule if she wants to prepare a meal for you to sit down and eat together? This seems like a male/female thing that will never be resolved because I know you’ll say, “But I’m helping her out by making one less thing for her to do so we can both enjoy the meal equally.” Well, from the female perspective, it doesn’t work that way. We want to be able to do things for our husbands and cooking dinner is sometimes one of those things. If he cooks for us now and then or we cook together, great, but sometimes we just want to prepare the meal and it makes us feel like happy little suzie homemaker to do the whole thing. So, I would not be treated how I wanted to be treated if you said, well, I’d prefer to make my own salad. (This is when you say “Women are crazy.”- deal with it).
    I also realize the salad thing wasn’t supposed to be the whole point. I agree with the part about learning about different cultures and if you are aware of things such as the Native American way of socializing, then there is no reason not to follow that code of ethics when speaking with a Native American. But I also think that if you are unaware, it could come across as very rude to say “Why aren’t you looking me in the eye.” It’s hard to expect everyone to know every nuance about the different cultures (I sound like I’m promoting ignorance but I’m NOT! LEARN stuff people!) The counterpoint here is what if someone thinks it’s disrespectful and feels ignored or slighted if you don’t look them in the eye? I think the Native American person would be in the right here if they then explained their beliefs and the fact that they ARE showing respect in this way, but it still could be a “platinum” problem.

  2. Emmers, thank you so much for reading my thoughts and taking the time to put that much thought into it. You are a fantastic sister!!! Please allow me to try and explain my thoughts better.

    1. The salad thing: Maybe my thought will make more sense if I describe it from the other side. Whenever I would make dinner for Amber and I, I would always put all of the things out to make salad so that Amber could make her own. Using the Golden Rule, this is the way that I liked it best. So I assumed that I was doing the best by Amber in doing it that way for her. But I noticed that she always seemed disappointed that she had to make her own salad. So I used the Platinum Rule and talked to her about what was going on. She explained that her favorite way was to have it all done so that she could just sit down to dinner without having to worry about anything. So now, when I can I do it for her.

    2. Native American thing: I agree with you completely. It would be very rude to say “Why aren’t you looking me in the eye?” It would be rude to expect people to act the way that you expect them to act and to tell them such. But if you are following the Golden Rule, that is the way that you are treating people. You are seeing your way as the best way, and then treating everyone that way. But if you use the Platinum Rule, every time that you come across someone who treats you differently you will try and figure out why instead of calling them rude, ignorant, etc.

    What I was trying to get across with the Platinum Rule was that you should not expect everyone to see the world the same way that you do. Instead when you do encounter differences, watch them/talk to them/ask others (or whatever you feel comfortable doing), because you might find a better way to live your life. Or at the very least, you will find a better way to act when you are around them so that you make their life a little better.

    Counterpoints?

  3. Hello Ryan,

    The Platinum Rule is an evolutionary advance over the Golden Rule; it requires that we observe, recognize and respect others – and adapt our behavior to align with their preferences.

    Dr. Tony Alessandra has developed a model of personality preferences and adaptation that has proven to be successful in a variety of applications.

    You will find further discussion and examples at http://www.customersatisfactionevaluation.com/blog.

  4. I love this! Thanks for the clarification. I will continue to try and live by the “platinum rule!”

  5. Anne-

    That is fantastic! I wrote this without any knowledge of Dr. Alessandra’s work. It is very interesting to see how my thoughts and his overlap. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I will write on this in the future. Thank you Anne!

    ~Ryan

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