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?