A friend of mine, Barbara, has a son, Ben, who is a junior at a private high school in Los Angeles. Ever since he was a toddler Barbara has taught Ben to be nice. Ben is respectful and polite. He is also smart and full of ambition to make his fortune and to save the world.
One serious problem for both Barbara and Ben is that many of the other parents at the same school want their sons and daughters to grow up to be CEOs, and think that to become a successful executive they must not only be assertive, but also arrogant and devious. Recently, a classmate plagiarized one of Ben’s papers. The classmate is both a friend and one of the top students in the class.
I agree with Barbara. I believe that it pays to be nice. And so, I offer the following seven benefits of being nice. I’m sure you can come up with many more on your own.
- It feels good to be nice.
- You can be a CEO and be a nice person. I’m a CEO. I think I’m also a nice person. But, if I had to make a choice, I’d rather be pleasant than pompous.
- If you’re unpleasant to others they will most likely return the favor. Let’s not forget the example of Leona Helmsley who, according to Wikipedia, “had a reputation for tyrannical behavior that earned her the sobriquet Queen of Mean.” Leona served 19 months in prison after a conviction for federal income tax evasion. She was turned in by disgruntled contractors and employees.
- If you’re nice to others they are more likely to be nice to you. Life is much easier when your friends and family are fully behind you. This also applies to your life partner.
- Being nice to others opens doors. Carlos, a friend of mine, was hired for a top executive job because he helped a neighbor by shopping for her groceries while she was sick in bed for a week. She happened to be the assistant to the woman who owns the business.
- People who are nice tend to be happy, and create a circle of supportive warmth around them. Would you rather swim in warm water, or ice?
- You will live longer and enjoy yourself more. For many years my dad has been the perfect portrait of a man who is kind, helpful, and supportive of his friends and family. We all love him and help him in his life. My dad will celebrate his 103rd birthday in three months.
The choice is entirely up to you. You can wake up each day with a snarl or with a smile. In my life, I see a lot of happy faces around me. I don’t see many frowns.
This morning I received a text from one of my daughters. “Good morning Dad. I hope you have a great day! Love you. Sara.”
I’d like to pass that along. I hope you have a great day!
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