The Platinum Rule

We all know the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”/”treat others as you would like to be treated.” Seems like a nice sentiment and a good way to approach relationships, right?

At work, a very smart colleague told me that she recently heard a keynote speaker talking about this subject. When you get down to it, the Golden Rule is really pretty selfish. It is a self-centered approach that assumes that what would make you happy would certainly make everyone else happy. Essentially, the Golden Rule imposes your own worldview onto everyone around you, without taking into consideration what those people actually need to see and hear from you to feel respected, understood and heard.

Thus, the Platinum Rule:

Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.

Or, more simply, “treat others as they would like to be treated.”

This very smart woman who told me this said – and I agree – that this is a fantastic way to approach life, both personally and professionally. As marketers, instead of thinking about the messages that we need consumers to see, we can think about what a consumer needs to see in order to feel affinity to the brand and ultimately act as we want them to by making a purchase, signing up to receive emails, or whatever the case may be.

As people, working toward such an empathetic approach to life and relationships will be a lifelong process, but certainly a worthy one. It can open up our worldview and help us understand people and situations more clearly. The Platinum Rule takes the focus away from being self-centered and more toward being understanding, insightful and sensitive to the needs of others rather than just our own. And I think that’s pretty neat.

The Platinum Rule certainly applies to riding horses, too, and dovetails nicely with the horsemanship and horse-rider relationship that I have been working on with Mr. K. Too often, we focus on what we as riders want from the horse. We need a nice head set, a stop at the cone, more impulsion in the trot. All of these things are fine, and have deeper, positive implications for the horse. But to accomplish these goals, we need consider what the horse needs. And what he needs is to be communicated to clearly, in a way he understands, so that there is no confusion or uncertainty about his job. Then, he will be able to do his work happily, because he understands what is being asked of him.

Ultimately that is the whole point of the horsemanship that we’ve been working on – to communicate so clearly and build a relationship with the horse so that the smallest aid is meaningful and clear. The result, then, is the nice head, clean stop, more impulsion. And all because of the Platinum Rule (and lots of practice).

And now here are some shots I took recently on a peacefully foggy night at the barn:

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