“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for these sums up the Law and the Prophets.”   -JESUS CHRIST


The Golden Rule is the gold-mine of life which gives eternal value to what you do. The Golden Rule is an extraordinary Rule that makes for an extraordinary success.

It’s a simple but powerful rule when applied. However, to be simple does not necessarily imply to be easy because it takes conscious effort and daily commitment to live by it.

The Golden Rule is the game changer that can change your life completely and unreservedly. The Golden Rule should be the rule of engagement in all human relationships and dealings.

When you live by the Golden Rule you live a golden life and have a Midas touch experience.

Let’s unravel the life story of J. C. Penny who prospered in an extraordinary way through the application of the Golden Rule.


At the age of eight, J. C. Penney’s father assigned his son the responsibility of buying his own clothing.

The youngster was immediately engrossed in various activities to meet his new responsibility; he ran errands, sold junk and invested in a pig venture. He purchased a dozen pigs but his neighbors complained about the inconveniences of the piggery business. His father immediately told him to discontinue with the business. Penney later reiterated what his father told him,


“My father said to me one day: ‘We should resent it if a neighbor distressed and discomforted us in any way. Therefore, you see that a neighbor will resent distress and discomfort if we cause it. This means’, he said, ‘we must do to everyone as we wish to be done by.’ And so there emerged into my youthful experience the Golden Rule”.

Penny’s father’s timeless counsel left an indelible impression in the heart of J. C. Penney and he built and conducted his life and business in accordance with the Principle of the Golden Rule.

Your children and the people under your authority becomes the product of the teachings and the example you model for them. As John Maxwell rightly states, “We teach what we know but we reproduce what we are.”

After high school, Penney opened a butcher shop. However, the business ventured failed when he refused to supply a bottle of whiskey each week to the chef of a local hotel.

Can you be willing to accept a momentarily loss for a permanent win of a clear conscience knowing that you are living by your convictions rather than by the dictate of your conditions?

Words cannot express the inner peace and satisfaction you gain when you have clear moral convictions and you equally have a clear conscience – You face life with replete confidence knowing that your life is on the right course.


The owner of Wyoming dry goods store helped Penney to gain his own store. Penney called it, “The Golden Rule Store”. Five years afterwards he opened two additional stores and introduced profit sharing thereby enabling employees become partners in the business.

Penney’s business venture flourished and he resigned at age 39 as the President and became the Chairman of the Board during the time. The Golden Rule chains of stores grew to 1, 400 stores nationwide.

When you are committed in building your employees and helping them grow in financial terms and in reaching their potentials, they will be committed in building your business.

Winning with people makes you a winner in the game of life. Winning at the expense of people makes you an ignoble loser in the game of life.


J. C. Penney’s first wife died in 1910 and afterwards his second wife died in childbirth in 1923.

Penney revealed that after the death of his first wife he experienced an intense desire to drink – a desire that was “persistent and terrible, lasting not through weeks and months, but even years. Many a night I walked the streets battling with this temptation and the darkness that had settled upon me.”

Every life has its own seasons of trials when the storms of life rages desiring to give you the wages of failure. What you become through those moments of test will determine if you will grow to the next or higher season of life or if you derail and retrogress into a deteriorating state of life.

Never yield to temptation no matter how persistent and overwhelming it seems – be committed to be an overcomer with God’s help. J. C. Penney did.

Probably if he had given into the temptation he could have ended up a drunkard and his legacy of an inspiring example could have been that of a warning. Be committed to finishing strong.


During the Great Depression in 1929, J. C. Penney stock plunged from 120 points to 13. He was virtually broke by 1932 and was indebted to the tune of $7 million.  He just had to stop many of his Christian philanthropies.

How do you perceive failure? How you perceive failure will determine your response and the eventual outcome.


In the process of time, J. C. Penney regained his faith and hope and began the long but worthwhile process of building his financial fortune  again at age 56 with borrowed money as the start-up capital.

By 1951, J. C. Penney store was in every state in the United States and for the first time sales surpassed $1billion. J. C. Penney expanded the product lines with its ever growing success.

When you build your business from the inside-out, it makes no difference what happens to the business, you can rebuild it to become greater. When you know and understand the principles governing life and business, you can never be stranded but rather you possess a workable knowledge of how things work.


J. C. Penney attended fifty-one store openings, participated in twenty seven TV and radio programs gave 105 speeches and travelled 62,000 miles at age eighty-four. He lived until age 95.


J. C. Penney never deviated from the Golden Rule Principle but functioned from the Principle, “to test out every policy method and act in this wise. ‘Does it square with what is right and just?’”

J. C. Penney practiced the Golden Rule even in difficult financial times and even when he was mocked by his peers.

It is easy to do right when things are easy and when people commend and applaud you but it is a different case when you are jeered rather than cheered for doing what is right.

However, the true test of character lies, when you face difficult times and doing what is right and just will also mean losing out. Your decision in those critical moments will determine your profitability or loss in the game of life.

When you don’t care about being mocked by people for doing what is right and just then you become just the right person for life’s promotions and distinction.

Remember, the Golden Rule – the best Rule of Engagement in human relationships at all levels of life.

“I believe in adherence to the Golden Rule, faith in God and the country. If I were a young man again, those would be my cardinal principles.”




Timeless Gem

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About the Author


Udeme Archibong is a prolific writer, an astute communicator and a model of excellence. Her writings have made profound impact on thousands of lives around the world through her blog:, which has followings in over 70 countries in continents of the world.

She is a Self-Development Expert, who passionately works towards helping people maximize their destinies.

At some point, she was a motivational columnist, writing Success Recipe and Destiny Catalyst, for two Nigerian national newspapers, Vanguard and ThisDay, respectively. She is the initiator of the Revolution Series Seminars