Silver better than gold

In his book “Skin In the Game” Nassim Nicholas Taleb talks about the Golden Rule and the Silver Rule.

You probably know the Golden Rule, which means "treat others the way you wanted to be treated". It sounds great but it works with the assumption that people want to be treated the way you want to be treated. 

How do you know that? 

People are in different stages of their lives. They have different needs and preferences. Treating them the way you want to be treated might be unkind. Ideally, you would want to treat them the way they want to be treated. But you might not always have the chance to ask everyone. 

What is the alternative?

You guessed it, the Silver Rule.

The Silver Rule suggests not to treat others the way you don’t want to be treated. In other words, it suggests refraining from treating people in the ways you wouldn’t want. By not doing something that is potentially unkind, you eliminate the risk of doing harm. I know there is the opportunity cost - you might also be withholding something that would be indeed beneficial. It is difficult to tell. 

What I took away from this Silver Rule is the reminder of how little I might know about how others want to be treated and what I might be assuming. Knowing that I will seek to ask and learn. And in the meantime, I will take pauses and choose my responses filtering them through the Silver Rule.

What are your reflections about this Golden Rule vs Silver Rule?

Isil Uysal Calvelli

If you ask me who I am in one word, I say “Human”. If I should do it with two words, I say “Loving Human”. If I am allowed to do it in three words, I say “Loving Creative Human”

I create words, emotions, connections, energy and spaces. 

I do that through coaching, writing, speaking, podcasting and training.


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