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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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              Last Updated on November 5, 2019

              7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now

              7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now

              Have you ever heard the question, “what would you do if money was not a factor?” It is one of those questions that people often brush aside, because quite frankly, money is a factor. The doubters will mock you as naive or foolish, but deep down you know it is possible to start living your dream life. You know there is more to life than working and paying bills.

              It seems as though most people are just trying to get by. They work because they need to make an income to support their life.

              People not only settle in the workplace, but also in their relationships with their friends and family. You may even know people who settle by compromising their integrity and core values.

              That is why it is not naive or foolish to start living your dream life, it is essential.

              Living your dream life is more than being rich, it is the belief that you are living a life aligned with your purpose. If you are ready to free yourself of the fears that cause you to live your life according to the expectations of others, then follow the below 7 steps found in the book – Champion of Change, the 7 Instrumental Laws of Change:

              1. Construct a Plan of Action

              The foundation for you to create your dream life is for you to take the time and visualize what that life will look like.

              This is more than the normal vision board you may have heard before. This form of visualization requires you to use all your senses. Olympians are well-known for their visualization practices as they prepare for competition. The reason they do this is because everyone is very talented by the mere accomplishment of qualifying for the Olympics.

              To gain an edge, Olympians will visualize themselves competing in their actual event. Emily Cook, of the United States free style ski team is quoted as saying she engaged all her senses in her visualization. She moves her body as if she is skiing down the slopes, she feels the air as it blows through her hair, and she hears the roar of the crowd as she crosses the finish line.[1]

              Olympians visualize in such detail because they understand they only have one opportunity every four years to compete. The best way they can be ready for the moment is by continually competing in their mind. Studies support this belief as they show you can literally gain muscle by visualizing yourself working out [2]

              2. Focus Your Attention

              If you want to start living your dream life right now, you are going to need to adjust the way you see the world. Your beliefs create your consciousness, and your consciousness creates your reality, and your reality is maintained by the way your mind filters information.

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              Everyday, you receive millions of sensory inputs and your mind filters out most of them to keep you from going crazy. The ones you receive are the ones that your mind believes matter to you based on past experiences.

              One of the most popular examples is when you purchase a new car. As soon as you purchase that car, suddenly you notice that car everywhere. Now you probably know that everyone did not purchase the car the same day as you, but what happened?

              Well, when you purchased your new car, you told your mind ,”this car matters to me”. As a result, your mind is now showing you the car that has always been there.

              Your mind blocks out most of the stuff that is going on while you are driving to help you stay sane. Imagine if you were consciously aware of every line, tree, car, deer, squirrel, reflector and sign while driving.

              The same way your mind can adjust your filters based on the action of purchasing a new car, you can take actions to create your dream life. As you take action, your mind will show you new opportunities that were always there (just outside of your previous filters).

                Learn more about how to focus here: How to Improve Focus: 7 Ways to Train Your Brain

                3. Put the Systems and Processes in Place

                Once you have the proper mindset to start living your dream life, you are ready to shift your focus to maintaining your early wins.

                The mistake most people make is they are excited in the early going, but they are working solely off discipline and willpower. Your willpower and discipline are exhaustible resources that will fade over time. That is why most people quit their New Year’s Resolution 30-days after starting. That is also why people who are on a diet will make nutritious decisions throughout the day, and fail miserably late at night.

                Each time you withstood the tempting call of sweets, the likelihood of you withstanding another call decreased.

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                This is why it is so important that you put systems and processes in place that limit the need for you to use discipline and willpower. In the case of our dieter, it would be better for them to trash all the candy they no longer want to eat.

                The reason is simple:

                Whatever food that is in your house, you are going to eat at some time or another. The only way to truly ensure you will not eat the candy is to throw it away.

                This is also true when it comes to you and your dream life. If you want to ensure that you follow through on your vision, you have to be willing to limit the ability for you to revert back to your previous life.

                If you want to stop relying on your willpower and start making things happen, these tips will help: How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop

                4. Accountability Is a Must

                When you are accountable to someone or a group, you will find yourself more motivated to continue. Deep down, we all want to be accepted by others. Even though this can work against you sometimes, this particular occasion is not one of them.

                When you proclaim your goal to other people, it improves the likelihood of you following through.

                You may be surprised to know, but you experience accountability on a regular basis.

                • If the CEO asks you to provide a report, you are going to make the best report of your life. You understand the opportunity and value of making a good impression with the CEO.
                • Now imagine if your coworker asked for the report. Will there be a difference in quality?
                • How about if you were going to a class reunion? Would that improve your commitment to get in shape?
                • Even when you know you are going to have company over at your house, you are going to clean better than if you knew no one was coming.

                Accountability works because you want to keep your word and make a good impression of yourself in front of others.

                5. Catalyst for Change

                There are things you can control and things that you cannot control in life. Do not allow the fear of failure or fear of uncertainty keep you from living your dream life. Everything is not going to go smoothly on your journey. You are going to face challenges and setbacks.

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                The good news is failure is a part of success. They are two halves of the same coin. What tends to happen is people spend so much time trying to avoid failure, that they never realize they are undermining their ability to find success.

                By understanding that failure is a part of success, you understand your goal is not to avoid failure, but to build on it: 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

                Your dream life does not necessarily need a positive event to start. Oftentimes, it is the negative events (or perceived negative) and a sense of desperation that drives people to reach further than they ever have before.

                Your catalyst for change may be exactly what you wanted or it may be the worst thing that could have happened. Either way, your focus is on what to do next. You want to build on that event by stacking positive events on top of it.

                Positive events are anything that move you closer to your goal. In your case, anything that moves you closer to your dream life. Whether you quit your job or your boss fired you, it is all about what you are going to do next.

                Choose to respond to each situation by taking another step towards your dream life.

                6. Character Matters

                In a study between two schools on opposite ends of the economic spectrum, positive psychology experts created a list of character strengths they believed essential to success.

                Their list included grit, self-control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity.

                Some of the character traits were common with how most people view success; such as grit, curiosity or self-control. However, gratitude, zest, optimism, and social intelligence (compassion) were on the list, but their relation to success is often overlooked.[3]

                It is important to remember that change comes from the inside-out. Your core values are the prism through which you accomplish your goals.

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                7. Muster up the Courage

                Once you have completed the first six steps, you have everything you need to start living your dream life.

                Do not allow yourself to procrastinate on your transformation. The fear of change may disguise itself as a thoughtful plan to wait for more information or better timing.

                Keep in mind that you are not looking for the perfect situation, you are only looking to start. One you get started, you are going to be better equipped to make any changes.

                I often compare starting your journey like walking through a fog. If you stand on the outside of the fog trying to see to the other side, you are going to find it very difficult. But if you are willing take the first few steps, you are going to realize that you can see a few more steps into the fog.

                If you are willing to continue walking, before you know it, you can see clearly because the fog is behind you.

                You have an idea of what your dream life looks like and you have an idea of the effort it is going to take to make it happen. However, you do not really know how realistic your expectations are until you experience it.

                Final Thoughts

                There is a lot of work that goes into living your dream life, but you will find it well worth your time.

                Most people regret the things they did not do more than anything they have ever done. Therefore, do not settle for a life that is less than your dream life. Pursue your dream life with effort and resolve.

                More About Living Your Dream Life

                Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

                Reference

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