There is a well known saying, “Nice guys finish last.’ It is a bit depressing to believe this statement. I recently read a book, The Power Of Nice: How to conquer the world with kindness, ’which refutes this statement. I felt uplifted by the philosophy of the book and would rather accept the beliefs put forward in it than the idea that nice people always get taken advantage of.
Nice people make my day. The nice lady at the check out who says she hopes I have a nice day makes me smile. It may have been part of her training to say this but it still brightens my mood. A nice message at the end of an email from a business may be part of their marketing strategy but I think it is a nice touch. I really appreciated my neighbour’s friend closing the lid of my empty wheelie bin on a rainy day and bringing it into my yard so it wouldn’t fill with water. I am more inclined to smile at others and do acts of kindness myself when others are nice to me so the effect multiplies.
The Power Of Nice is written by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. The introduction tells the story of a friendly security guard at their office building. His friendly attitude made the working day start in a positive way for the people who worked in the offices. However, it did a lot more. His welcoming demeanour helped the company win a very big contract.
The authors explain that ‘nice’ gets a bad rap. People often think if you are nice you will be walked over and not be respected. They point out that you don’t have to give in as such to other people but find a win-win situation where everyone is happy. They also show that kind words and actions often multiply.
The writers say research shows people who are nice and are willing to support others through being a volunteer or helping their friends and neighbours are 60% less likely to die pre-maturely than those who are not helpful. The authors also claim being nice does make money in business, contrary to what might generally be believed. A study discovered there was a 1 percent increase in income for every 2 percent increase in the helpfulness and cheerful attitude shown by the staff of a company.
Thaler and Koval suggest acting in a kind, respectful way to everyone, not just people you see as influential will bring benefits into your life. You may not always be able to trace a particular positive event back to a kind deed you did but often there is a link. Also, one shouldn’t be nice or kind with the intention of reaping a reward, it should be second nature.
The authors say they became even more aware of’ the power of nice’ while doing research for the book. They found by being conscious of trying to find a nicer way of handling conflict they were having fewer disagreements and more success in both business and their personal lives. They end the book by stating, ’a random act of kindness can help you become wealthier, healthier, and wiser. But, most of all, it will make you happier. And, after all, isn’t that the real power of nice?’