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February 9, 2021

The Platinum Rule

Most of us are familiar with the golden rule, “treat others as you’d like to be treated.” It’s an old maxim used in many cultures and religions. It basically means, if you want to be treated with respect, you should treat other people with respect. Or, if you don’t like pie thrown in your face, don’t throw pie in someone else’s face. Pretty simple concept. It works. That’s why it’s the “golden rule.” But is gold the gold standard these days? Could there be a better, more precious metal for this analogy? Is there a stronger and more durable rule? Is there a platinum rule?

Spoiler – there is. For the last five weeks, I had the privilege of being co-facilitator for Stronger Me, Stronger We’s Mind in the Making (MITM) Team Efficient, where we explored a twist on this old adage. If you don’t know about MITM already, here are some cliff notes:  Based on the book, Mind In The Making, The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs, this facilitated workshop helps adults strengthen the essential skills for ourselves, then teach them to children we love.

So, have you guessed the twist on the golden rule? Here’s a hint courtesy of Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, “Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.”  

To put it simply, not everyone wants to be treated the same way! That’s why the platinum rule is, “Treat others as they want to be treated.” Boom! Mind-blowing, right? So how do we treat others as they want to be treated? By using one of the 7 essential life skills explored in Stronger me, Stronger We’s MITM offering, Perspective Taking.

Considering that Team Efficient took place during both the insurrection and the inauguration, it was an interesting and important time to utilize this life skill. According to Ellen Galinsky, children who can take others’ perspectives are much less likely to get involved in conflicts. Pretty relevant at any age, right? Not to mention how crucial this skill is during an election or a pandemic when the temptation is strong to change someone’s mind rather than understand their point of view. 

Here’s an example I’m grappling with in my own life. My mother-in-law is an incredible woman…but she hates coconut. And that’s just plain wrong (kidding)! But seriously, she can’t stand coconut. Even the smell makes her gag. Conversely and correctly (again, kidding!), my daughter and I both love coconut. Everything about it. And my daughter is just now figuring out that someone else, like Grandma, could believe something so different from her, like not loving coconut. That’s a topic easier to digest (pun intended) than politics, but you get the gist, right? 

I think the point is, if you don’t like pie thrown in your face, don’t assume someone else doesn’t want pie thrown in their face. What if they’re a clown?! That’s not so hard to believe here in Sarasota. So, whether you’re a clown or just always wanted to ride in a clown car (guilty!), a toddler with a discerning palette, or an adult who despises tropical fruits, this year, maybe more than ever, it makes sense to be sensitive to the platinum rule – treat others at they’d like to be treated. 

If you’d like to know more about MITM, perspective taking, the other essential life skills, and how they can be utilized in everyday moments, click here.

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