The Golden Rule

Every day, your life is like a jigsaw puzzle, where the pieces are the experiences, you share with others. At the end of the day, what your puzzle looks like depends on whether those experiences were good or bad, positive, or negative. Surprisingly, your actions may largely determine the results of those interactions.

 I attended high school with a guy who was a known bully. We’ll call him Henry. As is the case with all bullies, Henry thought he could insult, mistreat, and disrespect anyone. Henry made it clear that there would be dire consequences if anyone disrespected or insulted his family, especially his little sister, without eliciting any regret or conscience from him.

This set of double standards has always been interesting and perplexing to me. A bully feels he/she has the right to treat any individual absolutely any way but demands respect for anyone in their inner circle. At every interaction with others, Henry was angry, intimidating, and rude. He never understood why he never had anyone in his corner, a friend who wanted to help him out of the goodness of his/her heart.

It’s safe to say that we’re all out of high school, so what does a high school bully have to do with life at Myers-Davis? Simple. The Henry I grew up with was only concerned about himself. He had zero compassion for anyone else. He never tried to understand what anyone else might be going through or looking at life through their windshield. Instead of making him happy, this selfish attitude made Henry one of the unhappiest people I’ve ever met. And from personal experience, I can tell you that he made everyone around him unhappy.

It’s easy to extrapolate from this that we don’t want to have the same kind of attitude as Henry. Actually, to have the most fulfilling and satisfying lives, we want to turn 180° from that kind of attitude. We should consider the common phrase: “The Golden Rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated.”

It’s as simple as asking yourself how you would want to be treated if the tables were turned in every single situation you find yourself sharing with someone else.  This kind of mindset shift, when put into daily practice, can greatly reduce conflict not only in the workplace, but also in your personal life. Life is stressful, but sometimes our own reactions and treatment of others add to that stress. Step back, take a deep breath, and relax before reacting. Remember to treat others how you want a to be treated.

Case in point. A couple of years ago the Saturday night before Mother’s Day, my daughter, Emerald, and I took my wife, Luanne, out to dinner to celebrate at Who Dat’s. We could see when we arrived that it was going to be a wait. The restaurant owner came by and apologized for the long line. In addition to the Mother’s Day crowd, a local tournament was taxing his three chefs and waitstaff. Some of the groups waiting were foot tapping, loud sighers, who were clearly impatient. Others were laughing and visiting and enjoying time together.

Deciding which group we wanted to be in, we told him it wasn’t a problem. We also complemented him and his staff on their excellent food and great service. He confided that several customers had been rude to his employees because of the extra wait time, and he thanked us for our patience and understanding. He checked on us several times as we ate, and he appreciated our attitude.

As we left, full and content, our conversation on the drive home wasn’t about the wait; it was about the food and the good laughs we had while visiting. We chose what our puzzle pieces would look like for both us and the people who were serving us.

Whether at work, or in the community, applying the simple lesson of the Golden Rule can make a big difference in our lives and the lives of others.

Side note: The high school bully?  After high school he joined the United States Marine Corps. Boot Camp nearly killed him, which caused him to experience an “attitude adjustment”. At our 5-year high school reunion had made a 180-degree turn for the better. 

-Don Gregory, Director of HR for Myers-Davis Life Coaching

To read other inspiring content, please check out our Blog here: Blog – Myers-Davis Life Coaching (myersdavis.com)

At the end of the day, what your puzzle of life looks like depends on your experiences with others and how you've handled those experiences.

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