The Timeless Principle of The Golden Rule

Justin P Lambert
Jun 13, 2018 · 4 min read

This is one in a series of essays that was originally conceived as a book for print publication. If you enjoy it and would like to read more from the collection, you can find a sort of Table of Contents here.

I purposely left this Timeless Principle to the end of Section One because I didn’t want the fact that it sums everything up to take away from the importance of each individual foundation principle.

But the fact is, if you can master this, the other Timeless Principles — both The Basics and Next Steps — will come easy.

I found this list of quotes online, compiled by a self-help author who was making the point that “The Golden Rule” is really common sense, and its basic concept stretches across religious and cultural boundaries because of that:

Buddhism: 560 BC, From the Udanavarga 5:18- “Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.”

Judaism: 1300 BC, from the Bible, Leviticus 19:18- “You must love your neighbor as yourself.”

Hinduism: 3200 BC, From the Hitopadesa- “One should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated.”

Zoroastrianism: 600 BC, From the Shast-na-shayast 13:29- “Whatever is disagreeable to yourself, do not do unto others.”

Confucianism: 557 BC, From the Analects 15:23- “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”

Christianity: 30 AD, From the Bible, Matthew 7:12- “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you must likewise do to them.”

Personally, I prefer the Christian and Jewish versions of the rule because they advocate a more positive, proactive application. But the concept is the same. The basis is that each of us knows how we would prefer to be treated: what helps us and what hurts us; what makes us happy, what makes us sad; what encourages and what discourages. We know this, and yet, our natural tendencies often fall on the selfish, saddening, pain-inducing, discouraging side of the line when it comes to dealing with other people.

To make a practical example of the idea, consider your morning commute:

All of us absolutely hate when some jerk cuts us off on the highway or in some other way makes our commute a little more stressful by inconveniencing us or even putting our life in danger by the way they drive.

But during the very same commute, how many of us have cut someone off, tailgated, sped through a yellow light, or in some other way made someone else’s commute a little more stressful? Sometimes it’s intentional, in which case we justify to ourselves, “he deserved it, he was going to slow!” or something equally ridiculous. Sometimes it’s unintentional, simply because we’re being careless.

But regardless of why it happens, the application of The Golden Rule will keep it from happening with such regularity. No one’s perfect, and frankly even if you and I began immediately applying this Timeless Principle to our personal lives, we’d still deal with billions of others who haven’t gotten around to it yet. And applying The Golden Rule once we’ve been wronged by someone is an even tougher process.

For the moment, just imagine what it would be like if everyone applied this principle, just for one day… or one week…? What an incredible vacation that would be!

How much would you accomplish? How much fun would you have? How many friends would you make? How quiet and peaceful would it be?

Incredible. Try it.

WORDS TO REMEMBER:

“We find greatest joy, not in getting, but in expressing what we are… Men do not really live for honors or for pay; their gladness is not the taking and holding, but in doing, the striving, the building, the living. It is a higher joy to teach than to be taught. It is good to get justice, but better to do it; fun to have things but more to make them. The happy man is he who lives the life of love, not for the honors it may bring, but for the life itself. — R.J. Baughan

This is one in a series of essays that was originally conceived as a book for print publication. If you enjoy it and would like to read more from the collection, you can find a sort of Table of Contents here.

Timeless Principles

Quick, practical, actionable advice to help you live a satisfying and successful life.

Justin P Lambert

Written by

It's complicated… Writer, author, freelancer; Editor of Timeless Principles Magazine, content marketing expert, and purveyor of short fiction. Please enjoy…

Timeless Principles

Quick, practical, actionable advice to help you live a satisfying and successful life.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade