Most everyone has heard of the Golden Rule – and often times we associate it with Christianity’s “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
But, the Golden Rule, in varying versions, has been a part of many major religions and philosophies.
- Judaism: What you dislike for yourself, do not do to anyone.
- Confucius: What you do not want done to yourself, do not do unto others.
- Aristotle: We should behave to others as we wish to others to behave to us.
- Hinduism: Do nothing to thy neighbor which thou wouldst not have him do to thee thereafter.
- Islam: No one of you is a believer unless he loves his brother what he loves for himself.
- Buddhism: Hurt others with that which pains thyself.
Now, take the Golden Rule one-step further. Do only those acts which you want for yourself, but are also willing to become universal standards of behavior. In short – ask yourself, if everyone did it, would it be a good thing?
What if everyone cheated on their taxes? What if everyone ran red lights? What if everyone took 30 items in the 10 items or less lane? Obviously some of those examples have more serious consequences than others, but the question is still a good tool for strengthening our decision-making skills.
Next time you have an ethical decision to make, ask yourself “Would it be acceptable to me if everyone did this?”