Beyond the Golden Rule
When you were growing up, there is a very good chance that you were taught the Golden Rule: “Treat others as YOU would like to be treated”.
The problem with the Golden Rule is that it is based on the assumption that we are all the same, and, therefore, everyone would like to be treated the way YOU would like to be treated... but this could not be further from the truth. In fact, the opposite is true. All of us are different and unique. We each have different perspectives, motivations, and needs. How, then, could we really think that everyone wants to be treated exactly the way WE would like to be treated?
The Platinum Rule
While the intent of the Golden Rule is good, what it actually does is promote the idea that we should project our own needs and desires onto others. The rule fails to acknowledge the value of self-awareness, being curious about others’ needs, and the practice of empathy.
For this reason, many have begun to apply the Platinum Rule: “Treat others as THEY would like to be treated.” Unlike the Golden Rule, the Platinum Rule understands and accommodates the fact that not everyone wants to be treated the same way. It says that we should treat people how they want to be treated, regardless of how we personally prefer to be treated in similar situations. It shifts the focus of relationships from “this is what I want, so I’ll give everyone the same thing” to “let me first understand what they want and then I’ll give it to them.”
Following the Platinum Rule would not require you to change your personality, but we would need to know ourselves and others well enough to understand that the way we want to be treated or what makes us happy is not necessarily the same for others. For example, someone who has been typed as an Enneagram 7 is likely to enjoy their freedom and as a result, would not appreciate you, who has been typed an Enneagram 1, imposing rules and structure onto them just because that is something that you thrive on. By the same token, someone who has been typed an Enneagram 2 and consequently enjoys building relationships and collaboration, would not be impressed if you, who has been typed an Enneagram 5, were to ask them to work independently and in isolation from others just because that is what you prefer to do.