Today’s topic is about the Ruby Rule, which was coined by Arthur Coombs III, author of “The Ruby Rule: How More Listening and Less Labeling Brings More Healing and Less Hating.”
You probably know the Golden Rule–we were all taught it as kids. Its underlying premise is that you should treat others the way you would want to be treated.
You might also know about the Platinum Rule, which says that you should treat others the way they would want to be treated.
Both are good rules to live by when it comes to interacting with others, but one thing is clear in these contentious, politically-charged times: these rules are not working!
Thankfully, Coombs has ironed out the Ruby Rule. Whereas the Golden and Platinum Rules are all about meeting expectations–your expectations and others’ expectations–the Ruby Rule is about exceeding them.
You can order Coombs’ book about the Ruby Rule here:
To best illustrate the Ruby Rule, Coombs describes an incident with his wife when they were first married.
One day, during their morning routine of getting ready, he mentioned that he needed a new toothbrush. So she went to the store and bought him one, but it’s a brand she would’ve wanted, not his preferred brand. That’s an example of the Golden Rule. She was treating him the way she would want to be treated.
He subsequently thanked her, but let her know he preferred a different brand of toothbrush. So she went to the store and bought him that particular brand. That’s an example of the Platinum Rule–she was treating him the way he would like to be treated.
But a few days later, he opened up his drawer and noticed that his tube of toothpaste had been replaced with a new one, his dental floss had been replenished, and his mouthwash had been replenished. She had gone above and beyond, and exceeded his expectations–this is the Ruby Rule.
Says Coombs: “Anticipate and go above and beyond. Go the extra mile. Treat someone with so much kindness, they didn’t even realize they wanted that kindness.”
For Coombs, adherence to the Ruby Rule is needed now more than ever, especially when the national discourse on every political issue is so harshly divided. How should we navigate through such a polarized environment?
By listening–really listening. And taking stock of others’ perspectives beyond more than waiting for them to stop talking so you can have your turn to speak.
As Coombs writes in his book:
“Invite others to share their stories by listening and you become a story holder. The more stories you hold, the more people will share and the more empathy you’ll feel for each other… And I’m not talking about only listening to someone you agree with. That’s easy. You already love listening to those folks. Of utmost importance is to be a story holder for those with whom you disagree.”
Imagine if even a small percentage of the population adhered to the Ruby Rule? Instead of jumping to conclusions, instead of harboring prejudices of opinion, there would be more people listening to each other’s stories and empathizing with differing perspectives.
If we all listen with real empathy–even just a little–we’ll all take a big step toward communicating better!
Keep living Bold!
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