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8 Harsh Life Lessons Every Nice Guy Should Learn

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8 Harsh Life Lessons Every Nice Guy Should Learn

You’ve heard the phrase, Nice guys finish last.” What if the phrase is true? You see, “nice guys” miss the mark so many times it’s a real pity. The problem with the “nice guy” is that he is dishonest. Underneath all that guise of courtesy and politeness is dishonesty with self and with others.

“Nice guys” act sweet and nice to get what they want or be viewed in a certain way. Often they do this without even realizing they are doing it. The “nice guy” has bought into his own lie that he’s really being a good friend; that he treats people better; that he cares, while in fact he is being phony. And that’s a big problem.

No one wants to feel like they are being manipulated or played by someone who is just acting, nor does anyone want to be known as someone who isn’t true to themselves. That’s where the “nice guy” parts ways with the man who happens to be a genuinely nice person.

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“Nice guy” vs. genuinely nice person

Clinical psychologist Guy Winch, Ph.D., says genuine people are authentic. “They have a good sense of self-esteem,” explains the author of Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts. “And people who have solid self-esteem are much less defensive about things usually. They can feel authentic, they can be authentic, because they’re far less worried about the implications of exposing who they are, because they feel OK about who they are,” Winch says.

Take a step back and analyze the collection of thoughts, speeches and behaviors that fill your days. Consider your own words and intentions. Are you genuine? Why do you do what you do? Do you truly care or are you just pretending because you want something? Nice guys” are fake, overly sensitive, vulnerable and predictable. Genuinely nice guys are authentic, ambitious, confident, honest and considerate. Here are harsh lessons every “nice guy” should learn:

1. Many people will love and support you, but many others will not.

This will happen no matter how nice and likable you think you are or how hard you try to be. You cannot please everyone. You might as well just be yourself and say and do what works for you. That way you will attract genuine people who like you for who you are.

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2. Seeking validation from others invalidates you.

Others’ opinions of you do not have to be your reality. You are as valuable as the next person. The moment you learn that and live by it is the moment you will be free to live the life you were meant to. As Bruce Lee said, “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” Affirmation might feel nice, but it is not essential.

3. Risk is the only way to change and improve your situation.

You cannot avoid risk without avoiding life. Understand that fact and you will learn the value of using every moment to improve your life and that of the people you care about. Don’t give up your life and surrender your happiness merely because you fear what people will say. Fear of rejection and failure is self-defeating. Henry David Thoreau said it right: “When it’s time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.”

4. You won’t always get what you want.

It doesn’t matter who you are—you won’t always get what you want in life. Sometimes you will try and fail. People will let you down, stab you in the back, and abandon you. Still, do what your consciences tells you to do, and do it the best way you can. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. If things still don’t work out, accept it. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Life’s too short to dwell on the disappointment of not getting your way.

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5. Regret hurts far worse than fear.

If you give in to your fears – whether it is fear of making a mistake, fear of disappointing others or fear of failing – and allow it to stop you from trying, the regret you will feel later in life will be far worse than the fear you have now. Unfortunately, not many “nice guys” escape learning this harsh lesson firsthand. It is only when you face your fears, take your chances and risk losing that you truly open the possibility to win.

6. We hurt most the ones we love the most.

This happens even to the best of us because profound love requires reciprocity. As human beings, however, the presence of conflicting perspectives and different needs means we cannot reciprocate profound love completely and exactly as is expected. We are, therefore, likely to hurt those we love the most, and be hurt the most by those who most love us. Learn this lesson now and it will help you cultivate a deeper compassion for yourself and inspire more compassion and understanding for others.

7. The people you’re trying to please so much won’t be around forever.

The support, love and help you get from others can only take you so far. You will have to go the rest of the way if you want to improve your life situation. Fortunately, nobody can transform your life the way you can. Until you know yourself and diligently act from a place of consciousness, you cannot change your situation, touch lives and grow into your truest self. Be bold. Stand on your own two feet and do things for yourself.

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8. It may all be over tomorrow.

You never know what is around the corner: a car crash, a heart attack, a layoff; heck… the world could end tomorrow! So, have your priorities right. Spend quality time with loved ones and do things that bring you true joy and happiness: whether it’s making art or trading stocks, be YOU. Don’t be who the world wants you to be. Be a genuinely nice guy.

Featured photo credit: Dog and his owner – Cool dog and young man having fun in a park – Concepts of friendship,pets,togetherness via shutterstock.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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