Family Works: Speaking on the platinum rule
by By ROB COOMBS ID. Min. Ph.D.
Apr 28, 2013 | 1017 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We all know the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s a rule (really a principle) that many good people try to live by. I am one of those people.

For the most part, it seems that living according to the Golden Rule is a worthy way to live. At times, it seems like others take advantage of me, but that’s really just a reflection of who they are. When taken advantage of, I am reminded that how I respond to others should never be determined by how they respond to me. Treating others right is the right thing to do regardless of how they treat you.

For years I assumed that the Golden Rule couldn’t be beat. That was before I heard of the “Platinum Rule.” I learned of the Platinum Rule from a waitress that works at a very fine restaurant in our area that has experienced remarkable success with limited marketing. Rather, they have relied on the best form of advertisement, word of mouth.

Both employees and owners believe they are the best and want to keep it that way. Being the best, they believe, is largely a result of following the Platinum Rule. Ingrained in every employee from day one was this simple, yet effective, rule: “Treat others as they want to be treated.” Serving guests with this in mind not only brought success for the restaurant, but monetary success for the individual servers as well. Understandably, focusing on the unique needs of customers made for consistently happy customers who tipped well and returned often.

It occurs to me that Platinum Rule would work well if consistently applied to our everyday relationships with our spouse, our children, our co-workers, our friends, our acquaintances. Rather than merely treating others as we want to be treated, we take the time to find how others want to be treated. I have always believed that we treat our children the same by treating them differently, so maybe this is equally true for everyone.

What one person may appreciate, another may resent. For example, I don’t particularly like others waiting on me. For the most part, I like doing things for myself. My son, on the hand, really appreciates it when others wait on him. He takes delight in this. So if I practice the Golden Rule with my son I would never wait on him since that isn’t the way I want to be treated. However, if I practice the Platinum Rule with him I have cared enough to discover what he likes, what makes him feel loved, and I act accordingly.

Of course, practicing the Platinum Rule is much more difficult than practicing the Golden Rule since the focus has switched from how I want to be treated to how the other person wants to be treated. This demands sensitivity, insight, perception and often actions toward others that don’t seem natural to us.

So why bother? The answer is simple. It works. By practicing the Platinum Rule we connect better with others, build deeper and more meaningful intimacy, and connect with others in ways they both understand and appreciate. Of course, this demands greater maturity. I guess that’s why platinum is even more valuable than gold.