There is so much contradiction in books and on the internet today about whether nice people finish first, middle, or last in life and in business. What do you think?
I think that it all depends on the meaning of the word “nice” especially when it comes to taking care of yourself first. So many of us were taught that being nice means putting others first – but that flies in the face of good self-care. A counselor once told me that good self-care means taking care of yourself first whether that means at work or in our personal life. This is not how many 40-somethings were raised to believe, and we need to change our attitude and our outlook!
The counselor reminded me that the people who get ahead in life are the ones who make noise – starting in the hospital nursery. The babies who cried loudest and longest get the most attention and have their needs met ahead of others. The more content babies did not get noticed and some even slept through while the demanding babies garnered the love and attention of nurses.
In business, we observe that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” – those who self-promote, pontificate, forge ahead of others in line, and who demand attention get noticed more and promoted more. The four-year-old prima donna behavior of “Look at me, look at me!” unfortunately seems to work when promotions are given out and bonuses are paid.
What about those who work well with others by cooperating, promoting their teams, and supporting co-workers – sometimes at their own expense. “Nice” people don’t stand out, and despite articles published that say the contrary, they can end up being invisible and overlooked while the brash, less considerate, and self-promotioning assertive people move ahead. These people were the crying babies in the nursery who learned how to get their needs met early in life.
If you are a nice person and find yourself being left behind at work and in life, maybe it is time to examine how your behavior sabotages your own best interests. It is never too late to learn how to set aside some of the seemingly “nice” behaviors that put others first and fail to get our needs met. Only you can take care to make sure that your needs are met. No one else will put you first so you have to do it for yourself (and doing so ensures your survival!)
p.s., Take a moment out of your week to say thank you to a nice person today – they make our lives better just because they are who they are. It is due time that they get ahead (finally!) for the niceness they bring to our world!