Saturday, May 28, 2005

Curious about Nice: Is It Enough?

Yesterday I heard myself saying, “Yes, he’s not only a nice guy, he is also a great manager.” This started me thinking about nice, being nice and if being nice is enough to get ahead.

Personally, I don’t think being “nice” ever hurts, but in my experience(s), it isn’t enough. For example, when I worked as a server in restaurants, I was always more than nice to the guests. I discovered, however, that once I became super efficient, an excellent sales person and able to handle many tables at the same time with speed and accuracy, my tips soared. And, returning guests would usually ask for me.

I discovered that there is a plethora of different opinions about this:

  • Leo Durocher is well known for his statement, “Nice guys finish last.”
  • In answer to that, Addison Walker wrote, “It is not true that nice guys finish last. Nice guys are winners before the game ever starts.”

Yes, I do favor Walker’s statement, but must admit that when it comes to picking men, I have many “nice” men friends, while for romance, I usually am drawn to the not-so-nice men. I know that this can be a detriment in lots of cases - for me and other women - for the nice guys.

When it comes to thoughts about getting ahead or succeeding in the corporate world, there are some other interesting thoughts:

  • Melissa Hahn sums it up, “It's nice to be important, but it's important to be nice.”
  • Jimmy Durante gives his reason, “Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.”
  • As does Cyril Connolly, “Always be nice to those younger than you, because they are the ones who will be writing about you.”
  • And also stated by Lord Chandos who wrote, “Power in a corporation becomes residual and dwells in the background. It is the ability to exercise nice matters of judgment.”

As I searched for thoughts on “niceness” I found some fun, funny and honest approaches that I think you will also appreciate:

  • George Carlin, one of my favorite humorists and satirists said, “The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going.”
  • Will Rogers, in his inimitable style, said, “Diplomacy is the art of saying `Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”
  • Michael J. Fox admits, “You've probably read in People that I'm a nice guy - but when the doctor first told me I had Parkinson's, I wanted to kill him.”
  • Katherine Whitehorn makes the observation that, “No nice men are good at getting taxis.”
  • While Lucille S. Harper points out that, “The nice thing about egotists is that they don't talk about other people.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t include Haim Ginott, my all time favorite child psychologist and writer for parents, who wrote, “If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.” As a parent, we can so easily point out what a child’s weakness is, forgetting the strengths – or not mentioning them.

So, how about you? Are you “nice”? Yes, I work at it too. But, it really isn’t enough just to be nice. And, we can also be “too nice” which can serve as a detriment. But that is another whole blog.

Do comment, or send me your feedback! I love hearing from you.