Niceness Trumps Mean Any Day of The Week

Unknown-1Nice is the last thing I wanted to be when I first started in the consulting business.  I wanted to be known as tough, bright and sharp.  Nor did I want to be a “nice guy” when I was a university student.  I hated it when girls said that about me.  It was like a rejection.

But now, I think it’s one of the best things that can be said about people.  I have nice friends.  That’s why they are my friends.  I want nice people in my life.  They don’t say bad things about others.  They are positive.  They help me out when I need it. I don’t care about their age, their sex, where they went to school, or which country they’re from.  I like positive people who are doing something with their lives.

There was a book a few years ago about being nice. The whole premise of the book was that if you are nice, it will pay off for you.  You’ll be rewarded if you are nice. I skimmed the book and then threw it out.  Be nice for no other reason than it’s a good thing to do. It helps other people. It makes their life easier.  It makes your life better. You’ll feel good.

I am always surprised when one of my good friends who runs a non-profit, treats me to lunch.  I’m glad to pay.  He runs a non-profit and I don’t and could pay.  But he can too, and he is happy to do it.  it’s such a nice gesture, made even nicer because he does run a non-profit.  He’s a nice guy.

images-3Last year, the president of a big company, told me he was making plans for a house party and would invite me.  He was going to cook, but instead he just ordered pizza. He sent me an email saying the charge would be $45 for pizza and beer.  He makes over $1Million USD and lives in a company paid apartment that runs $12,000 per month.  I  ended up not going and let the friendship run its course.  Sometimes when these things happen, you learn things about a person that makes you want to say goodbye quickly.

I’m thinking about niceness today because I just got back from my swimming class, aka my swimming club.  The class had about 1-2 students with the previous instructor. Today, it was packed and that is the case most days with this new instructor.  As is my way, I try to figure out why.  He is cute. He is young.  He has great skill. But so was the other instructor.  The class if full because he’s nice.  That’s it. He’s nice. To Everyone.  Not just me. To the pool staff. To the receptionist.  To the people who are in great shape and the people who are not.  It makes him even more attractive and it draws people to him.

images-8Maybe you know people like this. Maybe you are like this.  What would it take to always be nice?  I would love to see this on someone’s performance review:  He’s really nice.  Or to identify someone’s training objectives as “be nicer.”  Let me know if you know a company that rally values niceness as a valuable employee trait?

In the interim, I will just do what I can to be nicer myself, nicer to everyone, and want to encourage you to do the same.  Why?  For no reason other than it feels good and it makes other people feel good too.

Many people tell me they want to change the world.  One way to do it is to change your own world  And don’t forget to be  nice to yourself too.


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  1. mikekato says:

    The two complements I’ve always appreciated more than any other are “kind” and “nice.” I felt this way from when I was a small child. I hope that these words continue to be the words that give me guidance for the rest of my life.