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7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life - The Week

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7) The Golden Rule

There have been a lot of great ideas in the past few thousand years. But what does everyone around the globe, throughout time all seem to agree on?

The Golden Rule. We find it at the root of most every major religion.

The version of the Golden Rule that most of the experts learned in Sunday school comes from the King James Version of the Bible and goes like this: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them." But one reason why the Golden Rule comes up so frequently is that every religious tradition has a version of it.

Hinduism: "Knowing how painful it is to himself, a person should never do to others what he dislikes when done to him by others."

Judaism: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor."

And Islam: "None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." [30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans]

And research has validated how fundamental the idea of reciprocity is to human nature.

Adam Grant has shown that nice guys do finish last… but they also finish first.

"Givers" are disproportionately represented at the bottom and at the top when you look at who succeeds in life:

Then I looked at the other end of the spectrum and said if Givers are at the bottom, who's at the top? Actually, I was really surprised to discover, it's the Givers again. The people who consistently are looking for ways to help others are over-represented not only at the bottom, but also at the top of most success metrics.

For more on how to leverage the science of karma and the Golden Rule go here.

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