From the Golden Arches to the Golden Ticket Leave a reply Last week I watched the move “Founder” about Ray Kroc, the man who founded McDonald’s. “Founded”. Kind of like the phrase “Finders keepers, losers weepers,” you may have heard or repeated on your elementary school playground – as tears welled up in at least one child’s eyes. Ouch! The story shares how one man “improved upon” and arguably stole the brainchild and established business of the McDonald brothers in 1954 – ultimately turning it into a multi-billion dollar business. Ray Kroc, a salesman, saw an opportunity and was willing to take big risks for big rewards. He had the know-how, the guts – some might argue, the audacity – and eventually the finances to turn the McDonald brothers’ ideas and inventions into something bigger than the original thought generators could envision or even wanted. Despite the McDonald brothers’ resistance, Ray Kroc eventually took control of the company right out from underneath them. He wrote them a check – taking the golden arches, all of their locations and original ideas for what made McDonald’s so appealing in the first place with him. The McDonald brothers agreed – not because they wanted to, but because they realized they could take what they could get or nothing at all. The brothers negotiated 1% of all future earnings of the company. They never saw a dime of that money. Their only other request was to be allowed to keep their original store in San Bernardino, California to which Kroc agreed – eventually forcing them to remove their family name from the location and later putting a McDonald’s right across the street, driving them out of business. Many people would define this story as unfair, criminal, despicable, unjust and downright slimey. Others might argue it’s a prime example of modern day capitalism. David and Goliath. As not only fair, but perfectly legal. Darwinism exemplified. It was proposed to me as, “It’s just the way it is”. I can see points from all sides of the argument. However, I personally identify more with the idea that Kroc – the man who would make billions off of the Golden Arches – could have used a healthy dose of the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Seems simple enough, right? Then why is the Golden Rule such a difficult one to follow? First, many people – including myself – have a natural aversion to rules being forced upon them – like a baby being fed spoonfuls of those icky green peas, spitting them back out faster than they can come in. Secondly, just by having the opinion that Ray Kroc’s actions were calculated, crooked and cold-hearted. That he should have a dump truck of the Golden Rule shoved down his throat. I myself am officially NOT practicing the Golden Rule. Funny, isn’t it? You see the Golden Rule is not really asking us to walk around being do-gooders all the time. It’s actually asking for us to find compassion in any and all situations. Look at the person before you. Treat them as you would want to be treated or looked upon if you were in their exact position, had made their same choices, or carried out their actions – no matter what. It’s difficult to do unto another what you would have them do unto you, when you’re preoccupied with being upset, angry, jealous, frustrated, betrayed or disgusted about what you are judging them to have done – to you or to someone else. Judgement breeds defensiveness by nature. Ever cuss somebody out or flip somebody off because they pulled in front of you on the interstate? Ever cuss somebody out or flip somebody off because you accidentally pulled in front of them on the interstate and they cussed you out or flipped you off? (you may need to read this twice) We do these kind of things all of the time. With our kids. About friends and family. At work. In line at the grocery store. Across party lines. Especially with people we consider to be different from us. Judgement is diversion. An illusion. A disguise. It’s our ego’s way of claiming false significance and superiority in under to escape the underlying fear that we all have in common – Am I good enough? Am I worthy? Am I lovable? It offers false pretense that we are not ALL responsible for the bigger picture. We point fingers. Shirk our personal responsibilities. Dodge ownership. As if to say – look what HE did. We attempt to place the focus out there – on somebody or something else and all of their inadequacies – evading our own human flaws, faults and failures. So instead of the Golden Rule, I propose a Golden Ticket. Guaranteed entry into compassion, forgiveness and understanding, and ultimately release from our own fears. This is a practice a friend and fellow student of The Course in Miracles shared in our last study group. That night I happened to be trapped in a mindset that had me feeling taken advantage of, not worthy and ultimately victimized. I was sorting through my intense emotions and the judgement I was placing upon the person who I felt was responsible. I couldn’t get past what I felt this person had done “TO ME”, in order to have compassion and understanding for the choices they felt necessary to make. As far as I was concerned the Golden Rule could go suck a Golden Egg! That’s when Carrie proposed replacing my judgement thoughts and statements with I AM statements. I am the person I’m angry with. (on some level) I have made similar choices in my own life. (even if I can’t recall) I am that bad attitude. I have taken advantage of people. I have felt entitled. I have made that same mistake. (whatever that mistake is) I have been ignorant, belligerent, unfair, desperate, scared, indifferent – all of which ultimately stem from fear. I have made choices, said things and acted out from a place of fear many times in my life. So have you. So has she. And he. And they. We are all a lot more alike than we are different – at the core of our humanness. We just want to know that we matter. We want to provide for and protect the ones we love. We want to be loved – unconditionally. We want to contribute and bring value to the world. But we cannot have what we are not willing to give. We are all both Ray Kroc and the McDonald brothers. The “good” and the “bad”, no matter what trait you might be assigning to each party. So rather than do unto others, you ARE others. If given their exact history, upbringing, inherited beliefs, hardships, fears, pressures – chances are you would choose and act just as they would. Chances are, you already are in some way, shape or form. Our willingness to practice seeing ourselves in others – and them in us – is your Golden Ticket to peace, love, compassion and understanding. Place an I AM statement you are working with today in the comments below. And remember, you’re not alone. I am you. You are me.