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How Not to Finish Last as a Nice Guy

How Not to Finish Last as a Nice Guy

We have all heard the cliche: Nice guys finish last. The idea behind the saying is that good deeds go unnoticed and you have to be selfish to succeed. After all, there are two kinds of people: a nice person and a selfish person.

A nice person is kind and selfless. They are givers who are willing to help others and don’t mind helping without giving something in return. But a selfish person is a taker. They only think of themselves and aim to get more through doing less.

While a selfish person seems to be the one more people hate, “nice guys finish last” is still a common belief. So can nice guys actually finish first?

Nice Guys vs. Selfish Guys

    You can find a nice person and a selfish person everywhere; they’re at work, among your friends, and in different relationships.

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    Think about it, at work you definitely have that one guy/girl who seems to always get recognition from the boss, and maybe even a raise, despite the action they are being rewarded for having been a group effort. While a nice guy would share the recognition with his team, the bad guy would justify that he deserves the praise.

    Likewise, you have probably had a friend at some point in time that seemed to always cancel plans you made in order to do something they deemed to be a better opportunity. Meanwhile, they expected you to drop your plans for them. Or, perhaps your friend who gets a lot of dates is constantly standing them up in exchange for a different, better choice. He/she winds up with an amazing partner, not knowing they are simply the best option at the moment. Meanwhile, you may be single because you’ve had to cancel dates to hang out with your friend.

    Nice people make others happy but exhaust themselves.

    Nice people typically always have big hearts. Because of this, it’s in their nature to try to help others by trusting them and working as a team. In their eyes, this teamwork can help the group achieve more. Because of their interactions with people, they tend to get help and support from those people when they need it.

      Unfortunately, working with others and always trying to make someone else feel good can often lead to exhaustion. It can also make it hard to keep up with which compliments you’ve given people and which you haven’t. This can lead to some people feeling unappreciated. In turn, you feel like you’ve let someone down, and that can really weigh on your self esteem. Because people see the way they impact you, it can lead to them taking advantage later on.

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        Selfish people make themselves happy but ignore others.

        Selfish people are assertive because they know what they want. If you’re a selfish person, then often times you are willing to break the rules to win. You aren’t afraid to let others know what they’ve achieved, and while this can sometimes seem self-absorbed, it can also help remind people that you are an asset. You’ve also learned not to worry too much about what other people think. This confidence can provide a leg up on the competition.

          Success and intimidation don’t usually win a lot of friends, so if you’re selfish, you may not be well liked by many people. Along with being self-centered, you can’t always do all the work on your own; you’re bound to fall behind on occasion.

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            How to succeed as a nice guy?

            Ideally, you compromise. See, the above list of pros and cons outlines something very clearly: everyone has good aspects and bad aspects when it comes to personality and character. So it stands to reason putting those two character traits together would make a more ideal individual.

            Be nice, but also a little bit selfish.

              When nice people go to extremes, others can take advantage of them and nice people will still keep giving because it’s their nature to help. This is when others can mistake kindness for weakness. And let’s face it, life is survival of the fittest. But kindness can achieve great things when people learn when to be selfish and when to give.

              In the short term, being a selfish person has benefits but eventually poisons the well since others become bad around them. In the long term, being a nice person pays off big, though you risk exhausting yourself helping others.

              Achieve the best version of yourself

              Determine what you want to achieve the most. If you’re willing to really fight for that thing, then you should probably focus your attention there. For example, maybe you’re not a giver when it comes to creating a charity event, but maybe you’re a lot more willing to give in order to make a restaurant succeed. Great! You can be selfish about that cause while also recruiting a team of equally like-minded people to help.

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              Next, you have to build trust. Even if you know one hundred people who would want to help make a restaurant succeed, no one will want to help you if they don’t like you. In this case, you may need to be a little selfless and help others in order for them to see that you are worth helping, too. Besides, a support system is necessary. It will be good to have those people on your side in the future for other tasks you may come across.

              Stay humble when you need to, and promote your hard work when it’s called for. And if you’re working with a team, ensure you are promoting good behavior, and not negative, overly-selfish behavior.

              If you follow these tips, it’s possible to be a nice guy who can still finish first. Hard work and determination can get you far, but knowing when to be selfish and when to rely on others can get your farther. It’s not about using people, but learning when teamwork is the best choice for your success, and ultimately the success of those around you.

              You don’t have to be a “bad guy” or compromise your beliefs. You just have to compromise and continue to learn.

              More by this author

              Anna Chui

              Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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              1 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 2 Can You Stop Depression from Damaging Your Brain? 3 How to Practice Mindful Meditation to Calm Your Thoughts 4 10 Personal Development Goals for Success and Happiness 5 10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever

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              Last Updated on May 21, 2019

              Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

              Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

              People who have low self esteem are always hard on themselves. Sometimes they even cannot truly accept compliments because they would second guess people’s intentions.

                In this article, we’ll look into the symptoms of a low esteem person and what you can do if you find yourself having self-esteem issues.

                Symptoms of a Low Self-Esteem Person

                Common Symptoms

                • Unable to trust your own opinion
                • Always overthinking
                • Afraid to take challenges, being worried you wouldn’t overcome them
                • Hard on yourself but lenient with others
                • Frequent anxiety and emotional turmoil

                Lesser-Known Symptoms

                Being a workaholic

                At work expectations are set clearly. Even if there’s pressure in the workplace, compared to relationships or the social world where so much is unknown and uncontrollable, work is more straightforward.

                It’s easier to meet the expectations and perform well at work. Therefore, some people with low self-esteem would shift their focus to work and put all their energies there.

                Overachieving or underachieving

                Many of us have already heard that people with low self-esteem tend to be under-achievers as they’re too afraid to take new challenges and not confident enough to fully utilize their talents.

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                However, there’s another extreme. Some of them are too anxious of failure and being rejected, so they will try their very best to be outstanding to prove their worth.

                Causes of Low Self-Esteem

                Most of the time it stems from our childhood. Here’re some negative early experiences that lead to low self-esteem:[1]

                • Frequent punishment
                • Frequent neglect
                • Chronic abuse
                • Harsh parental standards
                • Being bullied/boycotted
                • Being on the receiving end of someone else’s stress or despair
                • Lack of praise, warmth and affection
                • Staying in a family or group where other members are prejudiced towards

                Childhood is when we form our “Bottom Line” and “Rules for Living” which affects the way we think, that’s why all the negative early experiences can have a very long-lasting effect on our adulthood.

                How “Bottom Line” Affects Your Self-Esteem

                “Bottom Line” is how you usually feel about something, based on your early experience. For example, “how you felt when you first left home becomes the emotional bottom line for when you leave other things in your life.”, according to therapist Robert Taibbi [2].

                When we talk about self-esteem, the bottom line is about how people around you treat you, as we grow up taking the voices of people who are significant to us. Did they say you’re adorable, or you’re always not good enough? Did they neglect you that made you feel worthless?

                That largely affects the way you view yourself and hence affect your self-esteem.

                How “Bottom Line” Determines Your “Rules for Living

                Based on the “Bottom Line”, we would form our “Rules for Living”, which are the strategies for dealing with life. For example, if you have the belief that you are always inferior to others, your Rules for Living would be “better not to speak up and to keep a low profile”.

                How Low Self-Esteem Affects Every Aspect of Your Life

                So what are the consequences of having low self-esteem?

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                It Makes You Confuse Love with Low Self-Esteem

                Having a low self-esteem, you expect people to treat you badly.

                When people are being just quite nice to you, you feel overjoyed and have unrealistically good feelings for them. This can be easily mistaken as love and also scare people away who might be just interested in being friends with you (at first).

                It Makes You Have a Lower Hand in the Relationship

                As you think your partner is too good for you, you bear things that you shouldn’t stand for.

                Sometimes you even confuse love with self-esteem. Are you giving in really because you love him/her so much or you just dare not to speak up and bargain?

                It Makes Your Employers Feel That You’re Not Talented

                People with low esteem sometimes are actually gifted. But they don’t know how to show it and “sell” themselves.

                During meeting, they keep quiet, during presentation they speak weakly, during daily conversation they say “sorry” and “maybe” too often…As a result, employers and other colleagues perceive people with low esteem as people without much talents.

                It Can Lead to Depression

                Over time, low self-esteem can lead to depression according to a study done by University of Basel researchers.[3] Psychologist Dr. Lars Madsen added that low self-esteem is “a key factor in both the development and maintenance of depression”.

                How to Improve Self-Esteem

                As we can see, low self-esteem is a deeply rooted issue and leads to lots of consequences. To solve it, it’s not an easy task, but it’s possible. The key is, to use the right ways.

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                1. Ignore All Those “Positivity” Advice

                Very often, we hear people say “Stay positive”, “Hey cheer up!”. People with depression know all these do not help. It just makes them feel worse.

                Same for low self-esteem, simply telling people “To me you’re wonderful!”, “You’re actually awesome”, “Why don’t you appreciate yourself more?”, or even worse “Hey you should be more confident” does not improve their self-esteem. Instead, they would feel inadequate or even guilty of their behavior.

                2. Focus Elsewhere

                “Healthy self esteem needs to emerge subtly.”[4]

                Same as happiness, you don’t immediately feel happier when you tell yourself to be happier. You need some concrete ways to do so like pursuing a goal that truly matters to you, like spending quality time with your loved ones.

                When you want to improve your self-esteem, don’t try too hard on thinking of ways to do so. There’s no direct way to improve it. It should be a by-product of our overall life’s satisfaction.

                According to psychologist Abraham Maslow,[5] to live a fulfilling life, you should take care the 5 levels of human basic needs. To help you understand more about this psychological model we made a video to explain it:

                Or you can refer to the graph below:

                5 Levels of Human Basic Needs

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                  To focus elsewhere, we’ve summarized the above items and put them into this list for you:

                  • Deep connection with loved ones
                  • A healthy body
                  • Sense of control
                  • A meaningful life purpose
                  • Recognition and respect from others
                  • Sense of security
                  • Creativity

                  As you gradually equip yourself with the skills to fulfil the above needs, you’ll forget about self-esteem and suddenly you’ll find that you just feel proud of yourself when you know so much that others don’t.

                  Resources to Help Increase Your Self Esteem

                  To help you gradually build your self-esteem, here’s a list of the best self-help books that can help you fulfil the goals:

                  1. How to Win Friends & Influence People
                  2. Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell
                  3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
                  4. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
                  5. The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health
                  6. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Busines
                  7. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
                  8. Thinking, Fast and Slow
                  9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
                  10. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

                  The Bottom Line

                  If you find yourself having low self-esteem, don’t be hopeless. Have faith in yourself that you can regain self-esteem and become a confident and successful person.

                  How?

                  Understand the root causes of your low self-esteem and overcome these causes with the advice in this article.

                  Featured photo credit: Joe Gardner via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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