Thoughts on ‘The Golden Rule’

By: T.K. Coleman - Contributing Columnist

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” doesn’t mean you should assume that other people will like the same things as you.

The golden rule doesn’t mean you should buy chocolate ice cream for others merely because you like chocolate ice cream. It doesn’t mean you should throw surprise birthday parties for your friends just because you happen to love surprise birthday parties.

The golden rule is a principle of moral symmetry. It simply means that you should consider other people’s unique needs, concerns, and sensitivities just as you would like them to consider your unique needs, concerns, and sensitivities.

Do you want people making rash assumptions about what you like? Probably not. Do you want people to do things for you without factoring in your own peculiar preferences and tastes? Probably not. Do you want people to think “Well. I like X so I’m sure you’ll like X too” without regard for how you might differ from them? Probably not.

If you really want to treat other people how you want to be treated, then you need to find out how they want to be treated. After all, that’s probably what you’d like them to do for you.

At least that’s the way I see it.


I recently heard James Altucher say the following:

“I have to read a lot in order to write a little. If I’m going to write 2 hours worth of stuff, It’s almost like I have to read 10 hours worth of books.”

When I spoke with Jeff Tucker at ISFLC, he said he reads twice as much as he writes. For a man who publishes substantial pieces every single day, that’s a lot of reading. When I asked him why he reads so much, he said that creativity needs fuel.

Many of the most prolific creators I know are philosophers who spend lots of time engaging ideas.

Do you know what the cause of burnout is? Simple. It’s the result of paying too much attention to the process of providing light and too little attention to the process of igniting the flame that provides the light.

If you’re suffering from creative burnout or a lack of inspiration, it may be time to replenish the well. What you give is an extension of what you receive. It’s good to share what you have, but it’s necessary to keep making room for new forms of abundance if want to keep giving over the long term.

Keep inspiring the world, but don’t forget to take time to let the world inspire you too.

T.K. Coleman is the education director for Praxis and an adjunct faculty member for the Foundation for Economic Education.

T.K. Coleman

Contributing Columnist