As a guy who makes a living at being nice (I even wrote a book called Nice Guys Finish First, so you know I am a believer), one of the more commonly asked questions I get when speaking to groups all over the country is not, “Why are you always so nice?” but rather, “How can you always be nice?” It appears to me that people in general know that being nice is far more beneficial than being not nice. I think people are stuck in the mindset that I must always be “up,” in a good mood, or in a constant state of happiness. Well, the short response to that statement as it pertains to me is, “Yes, but…” Yes, but I do have my mean moments. I want flip someone off in traffic, lay into someone for generally being stupid or yell back at someone when I am challenged by them. Yes, I want to do all of those things (I am human after all), but I hold back. The reason I don’t respond to mean, stupid or challenging people? What’s the point? Even if I win, flip or challenge back, I will never be right in the eyes of the offending party. I consider myself an expert at assessing idiocy while maintaining an attitude of "you cannot overcome dumb." So, I save my energy for kindness, happiness and niceness. I win.
You must keep in mind that the only things we are in control of are our attitude, our thoughts and our behaviors. Over the years, I have worked hard at the six inches between my ears. My brain constantly is sending messages to me in the form of thought waves. And if your brain is functioning correctly, yours is doing the same thing. You have a choice when you interpret those thoughts. You can either process those synapses and be kind, nice and happy or take the fork in the road and be cold, callus, selfish, mean and dark. I find the latter to be just plain wrong and totally counter productive. I prefer to build up rather than tear down.
Want to know the best way to get anything you want? Give away everything you have. In a previous blog I wrote about a year ago I talked about the act of giving. Want love, give love. Want happiness, give happiness. Want more time and money in your life, give away your time and your money. The world is just a big circle of energy and if you don’t believe that, just try paying a good deed forward. The act of being nice will always be rewarded by the receipt of nice. You win!
Success in business today involves taking the road less traveled. Recently, I had an opportunity to work on a business project with my brother Richard. Until last month we have never had a chance to work together. Rich has built a tremendously successful (and very personable) business in a potentially cold and sterile high-tech world of webinars, webcasting and learning management systems (complicated business stuff). His company, CommPartners has built a reputation as “the” go-to source, in his market. I would venture to say partly because of his approach to exemplary service, outstanding support and kindness (plus he has a great product too). His competition is stiff and in the world of high-technology, Rich and his talented staff score an A+ for creating a culture of nice, while maintaining a high touch profile with his clients. I learned, over those 30 days, that nice doesn’t just work in the world of my small business, but instead translates perfectly well in a multi-million dollar business like Rich’s. Way to go CommPartners. (#ELEVATE).
Back to the original question, “How can you always be nice?” I honestly don’t see that we have any other logical choice. I tell myself that nice is my only option. If you think that being nice means being a pushover, a “yes” man, or someone that is constantly getting dumped on, think again. Whether you are a leader of a company like my brother Richard, run a small company like mine or run a billion dollar empire like Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos), being nice is the best, most productive and most positive way to be. There is a tremendous amount of power in nice. As an added bonus, nice pays well too.
Train your brain that being nice is your only option. Create habits that allow you to be mindful of another perspective other than yours. If given a test question on the subject of being nice, would you score A+? Bad stuff is out there folks, that is reality for all of us, but there is plenty of good stuff too. Focus on the good stuff and nice is right around the corner.
Please take a moment and check out my book, Nice Guys Finish First, on Amazon now and climbing the charts quickly. Also, I have a podcast on iTunes, The Nice Guys on Business podcast. Fun and Business can mix well. Everyone can use a bit more NICE in life.