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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.