Today, I was the recipient of pure, unconniving, good ol’ hometown nice.
I found a desk that I wanted to get on Craigslist yesterday, but I lacked the space in my tiny Nissan Versa to move it. I posted a message on Facebook asking if anyone had a truck or an SUV they would be willing to let me borrow, but made plans to rent a Uhaul as I wasn’t really expecting anyone to respond.
Lo and behold, a guy I haven’t spoken to in quite a while commented that he had a truck and was willing to help! I texted him and arranged the time; he drove me to the place where the desk was, helped me load it, and gave me a hand bringing it in to my apartment. When I offered him payment for his gas and time, he refused and said “nah, it’s just what nice, normal people do.”
How refreshing is that?
He had zero agenda. He did not benefit from the exchange at all. And yet, he gave his time and assistance in spite of the lack of reward.
I follow CEO Andy Frisella on Facebook, and a couple days ago he posted the following:
Be fucking nice.
Its not that hard.
You never know the impact a simple gesture can make on someone.
Holding the door for someone.
Complimenting someone (with out an agenda)
There are a million ways to help people…and sometimes the simplest are the best.
Give people faith in humanity through your daily actions. Its good for both of you.
I love this post. So much so that I stole part of it for my title.
It is admirable to be a driven, goal-oriented person. Sometimes, however, the same people who are galvanized to succeed are also the people who brush past the niceties in order to drive hard for the prize. This tunnel vision is great at times for getting results, but it sucks for creating relationships. And relationships are what push you past the finish line those crucial .2 seconds before the competition.
Case in point, if you have equal on-paper qualifications and an equivalent success track record as someone who is gunning for the same position or sale as you, but you’re a bitch/dick/unpleasant, it will go to the nice one every. single. time. Humans don’t want to be around horrible people (even if they are a horrid specimen themselves).
Nice has gotten a bad reputation. So many individuals think that “nice” is a synonym for weak. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Try doing someone a favor when you are exhausted and all you want to do is sit at home in silence. Try holding a pleasant conversation for a couple of minutes with someone you secretly can’t stand. Try to compromise on something when the outcome actually affects you.
Yeah. Not weak. Not weak at all.
Sometimes, being nice is a task accomplished by those with only the most impressive store of willpower and inner strength.
Growing up in the Midwest, I was saturated with nice throughout my entire childhood. Neighbors stopped in randomly to chit chat. Checking out at the grocery store always included a “have a great day!” from the cashier. The mail lady bought our pet rocks that we were selling on the side of the road. To me, nice was simply normal.
In today’s world (or maybe it’s just anywhere outside of the Minnesota bubble), being nice is viewed as an anomaly rather than the status quo. I have never had so many people comment on how “nice” I am more than I have in the 2.5 years I have lived here. It’s something people notice and appreciate, especially when it’s atypical.
Now, to play devil’s advocate, one cannot go out of their way to be nice all of the time, or nothing personal will ever get accomplished. There comes a point when your actions can cross over from nice to doormat. That being said, when it costs to you nothing to lend a helping hand or give of your attention except a little bit of time or effort, just do it.
The world is one big mirror that gleefully reflects every single thing you show it. Is the universe displaying positivity? Are doors opening for you? Do you step outside into a playground of friendliness and possibility? Or, is the galaxy one swirling dark mass of negativity and suffering, with walls rising in every direction and people slamming into your shoulder as they rush past with their hat pulled low and their collar pulled high?
You have the power to create a little bit of beauty multiple times a day. The more times you take the opportunity to be nice, the more times the world will bring nice to you.
The guy who helped me move my desk today? I became friends with him after I offered to help him push his truck into the garage when I saw him struggling to do it himself. You never know when your acts of kindness will come back to benefit you, but I can promise you, they will come back. It might not be the next day or even the next year, but eventually, the tiny seeds of positivity that you plant will bloom, and the winds of life will blow those second-generation seeds back into your own garden right when you need them.
So really, what do you have to lose? Go ahead–pull on your overalls, grab a shovel and hose, and plant nice.