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Rules… Break Them

Rules, rules, so many rules! There are so many rules we are supposed to follow, it’s nearly impossible to navigate them all successfully. We’ve all heard of the “golden” rule; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  But did you know there is a “platinum” rule, “to do unto others as they’d want done unto them”, a “silver” rule, “do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you” and apparently a “bronze” rule, “If they are not bothering you, don’t bother them.”  Too many rules, why can’t we all just follow one simple “Vijay” rule which is simply “do your best to do the right thing at all times”? 😊 Remember, I like things to be simple.

Out of all these rules (by the way there is a stone, iron and bronze rule set, but let’s deal with that another time), I think the platinum rule is the hardest to follow.  It is a great rule in concept, and I am a fan of meeting people where they are. The challenge is, how do you know how another person wants to be treated if they don’t tell you? I recently heard a seminar speaker who said, “don’t give less than you would accept for yourself.”  This seems simpler, makes perfect sense to me, and I’ve seen it in action.

A friend of mine is a handyman of sorts and is renting a room from a friend.  He decided he wanted to do some work around the house, got the homeowner’s permission, and did the work.  He shared some of the before and after pictures and the work he did was meticulous: the paint edges were perfect and the woodwork was square and level. I could not see anything out of place and complimented him on his amazing work. His response was, “I live there, why would I not do the best I could?”.  He explained that is how he treats the work he does for all his customers; he does the work as if it was his own house.  He followed the “golden” rule, leaving both him and his customer’s satisfied with the work.

On the other hand, I hired a company to paint the inside of my house a few years ago. Part of the agreement was that they would use a certain brand of paint, but they used something different. Even if I hadn’t seen the name on the paint can, I would have known it was low quality just by looking at my walls.  When I questioned this, their response was that the owner of that store had given them football tickets and they gave them their business in appreciation.  I’ll say one thing, you gotta appreciate the honestly!  After a few more issues like that, I decided it was time to part ways with that company.  I found so many other things wrong with their work.  I hope they did not work on my house as if it was their own—if they did, that doesn’t say much for their own homes!

In the first example, the handyman clearly didn’t give less than he would accept, recognizing that to do so would lead to an inferior outcome and unhappy customers. Perhaps, even more importantly, he would not have taken pride in his work.  As far as the second group goes, let’s just say I don’t refer them anywhere. So, after considering these two opposite examples, why would anyone give less than they would accept themselves? Or, asked differently, why wouldn’t someone do their best to do the right thing at all times? There’s still the problem with the “platinum” rule; we don’t know what others want unless they tell us. But I think if we all follow the ‘golden” rule and treat others the same as we would want to be treated, whether that is through the quality of our work or how we engage with them—-isn’t that all we really need to do?  Do we really need these other rules?   Why not simplify; you may be surprised at the positive results!

“It is never wrong to do the right thing.” – Mark Twain

So, what will you give others and what will you accept?

Have a great weekend.