The Soup Nazi and The Golden Rule for Growing Old

The Soup Nazi episode is one of Seinfield’s best. In the soup kitchen/shop was a sign displayed for all to read: Prices may vary depending on the attitude of the customer. In this episode, the price of the bread increased the more the customer (George Costanza) complained about it, until ultimately ending with the Soup Nazi ruling, ‘No soup for you!’ The Soup Nazi probably did what most owners of a cafe or small business has wanted to do at some time, but there’s also an underlying message.

That message is a call for a customer attitude adjustment. Customers are put on notice about the attitudes they bring into the place, given that transactions aren’t always conducted in a courteous, professional, and business-like way.

Experience that can only be gained from living has taught us that the key quality we need to afford others was first brought to our attention by Confucius approximately 500 years BCE: ‘Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself’. This has become known as The Golden Rule or the law of reciprocity. With variations, many of the religions of the world and human culture have this ‘rule’ at the core of their teaching. Treating others how you would like to be treated is just as current today as it was thousands of years ago.

Now, living the golden rule is within everyone’s grasp. There are three plus one things we can do starting today. The three things we can do are as follows.
1. Live authentically by always considering the consequences of our actions.
2. Start small by making a commitment to be cheerful in our interactions with people we encounter.
3. Get practical by giving ourself plenty of opportunities for practicing the meaning of what Confucius meant.

1. The extra thing we can do is to make time for meditation. By devoting a brief time each day (say, 20 minutes) to this practice we can begin to make long-lasting and meaningful changes that are real and will last.

If we take on board these ‘rules’, we’ll never be told, ‘No soup for you!’