The Golden Rule is not “He who has the gold rules” this is the joke that normally follows when someone else brings up the Golden Rule.
The actual Golden rule is “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself”
Simple and easy to say but a great deal harder to live up to. People often think that treating others in a neutral way is using the Golden Rule. “No harm, no foul” and other benign ways to get by without actually doing anything whatsoever. This is not the Gold Rule, this is passive and does not require the person practicing this maxim to do anything for anyone other than themselves and not do any harm. Again “No harm, no foul” but that doesn’t work in the big picture and does not practice the rule as intended. If someone is standing on a bridge preparing to jump, does “no harm no foul” save that person or condemn them to a poor decision without requiring the bystanders to do anything except watch and wait for the outcome.
This is the society that we live in where people would rather whip out their phones and take video of the disaster rather than leave the phone in their pocket and reach out to the troubled situation.
Applying the Golden Rule to business requires that we do the best thing for the client and our colleagues. This is so much harder than it sounds but there is an answer that makes it easier than you might expect.
If we can remember that each time that we do what is best for others we are throwing a boomerang and that boomerang is bound to return to us with more power and strength than when we first threw it.
This is why the Golden Rule works. If we relied on just doing good and that was all we would be pretty disappointed most days. It is when we understand that what we do for others will return to us from indirect methods that most likely have nothing to do with the person we applied the Golden Rule to in the first place.
My friend used to say “Kill them with Kindness” and I never understood how being nice to people when I didn’t mean it was good for anyone. Especially because it made me feel like my head was going to blow off my shoulders. It wasn’t until I watched her do this that I realized that she had the right idea. By being nice and doing the right thing she built an invisible wall between her and all the negative stuff that creeps into our lives when we are doing what is best for ourselves in that moment. Her invisible defensive wall was especially helpful when it came to people who were looking for a conflict. She was no push over, but she tried to empathize first and then react. I on the other hand was more interested in getting back on those that had done me some injustice perceived or real, it didn’t matter. I was not going to be someone’s punching bag and I approached most of my potential difficulties with that mindset. Once I saw her system work I was convinced for life.
She was at a jewelry show where she sold vintage jewelry and the lady with the booth next to hers was as old and mean as anyone could be. She pushed her table a little further out than my friend’s booth. She would talk to my friend’s customers while my friend was engaged in a conversation already. She was a complete pain in the butt. My friend would just smile and say nice things and during lunch breaks she would bring this mean lady treats from wherever she went. I would steam and she would repeat “Kill them with Kindness” Within a couple of weeks the old witch was as nice and pleasant as if they had been friends of years. While I stewed and gave the old bag dirty looks my friend was winning a new friend and they began to car pool and the woman would watch my friend’s kids without asking for any money. The woman was just lonely and miserable. She hated being alone and felt that she was not liked so she acted that out. And within weeks she wanted to spend time with the kids she hated only weeks before.
I actually began to get along with the woman myself but it wasn’t my choice. I was pulled into being nice living the Golden Rule by force. Kicking and screaming the whole way. It took me too long to discover this rule that still guides my friend and she is still one of the happiest people I know living with her invisible wall of kindness.