Or as is more popularly said, “Nice guys end last”. Do they really? And if they do, does being nice should no longer be a good thing? These are some of the questions that came to my mind while having a conversation with a friend this morning. I do not have all the answers, hence I will put forth what I think. You are most welcome to say what you feel.
First and foremost, I do not believe that “nice guys end last”. I don’t think being nice is a way to fail in life, or end up second to the not so nice ones. I think of this as a myth propagated by those who want to hide their own failures beyond the “I am a nice person, the world is evil, how am I supposed to succeed?” cloak. What they really mean to say is “I may be a nice guy, but I am also lazy and do not want to take the efforts required to succeed. I am also ashamed of admitting that I am lazy, so let me just take a well-known phrase and use it to cover up for my inability”. I honestly believe, have seen from others, and have myself noticed that nice guys can indeed succeed if they push themselves hard (and smart) enough towards their goal. Success depends more on what you do to achieve something and less on how you are as a person. The presence/absence of niceness in a person does not automatically determine his/her success or failure.
So will nice folks always succeed? Definitely not. There will be many situations in which the nice person won’t win. Some of them would surely be because of the fact that s/he did not take the easy/unethical way to win (because they were nice). But not all of the failures stem from that. Some of them are simply because they did not push themselves to the extent needed. And in this respect, the nice guys are at just as much fault as the others. Just because you are nice/good/god’s gift to humanity, it doesn’t mean that life is going to put whatever you want in your lap just like that. Like all others, you are going to have to go out and earn what you think you deserve. In fact, if you are not going to go the easy way, it is almost certain that you will have to work much harder/smarter than those who don’t mind cutting corners. This sucks, but it is the price you must pay for walking the right path. So there.
So, all said and done, being a nice guy doesn’t seem to be a very smart thing to do in today’s world. You are needed to put in more of yourself to get back from life what others will get in lieu of much less. You may be liked by others, but not necessarily taken seriously or even respected. And if you goof up and lose, you cannot even fall back on the “I am nice” plank. So, chuck being nice and adopt a favourite vice, right? As this is everyone’s individual choice, I will only speak for myself. I choose to say NO to this. Counter-intuitive as it may sounds, I have a couple of simple reasons to do so. One, I have always believed in paying a fair price for whatever I want. If I have to pay extra in terms of time, efforts or patience to reach where I want to, to hold in my hands something that I want to, I will do it – without a single moment of hesitation. This will of course lead to me getting some things bit later than others. It may also mean that I may have to lose out on something. That is the price I pay for sticking to my beliefs, which I have no hesitation paying. The second, and the more important reason, is even more simple (for me). “Do no evil, no matter how high the payoff seems” is something that I have always followed. If I have to use the current terminology, it goes against my moral fabric. 🙂
To sum it all up, nice guys do not end last if they put in what is needed to triumph. If you need an example, just look at two nice guys who has been my inspiration (among many others) when it comes to work ethic, approach towards life and making the best of what you have got. They have been the quintessential nice guys, and hugely successful ones. People always compare one against the other and fight over it, but to me, you have to learn from both to achieve something in your life. I am sure you have heard about them as well – they go by the initials of SRT and RSD. 🙂