We believe that in order to advance in life, we must “look out for ourselves,” even if that means being selfish and mean. Is this, however, true? Is it possible that nice people actually get more? Yes, they do, and it has been scientifically proven. Here's how nice people get more done.
1. They provide assistance without expecting anything in return
This is made crystal clear by Adam Grant in Give and Take, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller. People who give unconditionally—the givers—achieve the most, according to his research. Following them are those who “look out for themselves” and may even be mean or selfish. These are the so-called “takers.”
Yes, takers come in second place.
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2. They pay attention
According to Marie Forleo, a “Rich, Happy, and Hot” internet entrepreneur, the greatest gift we can ever give to others is our presence.
When someone is talking to you and you are texting or thinking about something else, the message you are sending is that the other person is not worthy of your attention, as she discussed on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday.
What is the solution? Declare, “I'm back!” And just like that, your attention will be drawn back to reality. Because you're noticing it, every color has become more vibrant! You can now be there for the other person and actually assist them. View Marie's explanation of this technique in her own words:
People who are truly nice are people on whom others can rely. And, yes, they do receive 10x their input back in return for their generosity.
3. They are pleasantly surprised
Nice people are not only nice when most people are nice, but they are also nice when “niceness” is not expected. They will pay attention, and you will feel heard. They will astound you with their assistance and suggestions.
When I met best-selling author Tim Ferriss in person, I felt the same way. Despite the fact that he was surrounded by a large crowd, when he spoke to me, I felt as if I were the only person in the room.
And now I'm talking about it. And there are thousands of people who agree with me. Is Tim getting anything in return for all of this word of mouth? He most certainly does.
4. Their charitable reputation precedes them
People who are truly nice are known for being nice. For example, I knew consultant Michael Fishman was nice even before I met him at his BehaviorCon conference last August (hacking behavior alongside best-selling author Ramit Sethi). Facebook and Twitter have made the world so interconnected that news simply spreads.
After we met, he surprised me by saying “gratitude” for everything I did. Then, unexpectedly, he offered to assist me with my book.
And, yes, I'm talking about it in public. Because it's difficult to forget when someone looks after you.
5. They make others happy
You feel good when you are heard. You feel relieved when you receive assistance. And you can't help but admire the person who assisted you.
Then, one of Cialdini's Principles of Influence kicks in: reciprocity. When you receive something, you feel obligated to return it. You can't help but be grateful to the person who assisted you. That is how nice people receive even more in return.
6. They understand the distinction between being a doormat and being a generous giver
Nice people are not slackers. After all, no one looks up to doormats. People make use of doormats. Few people truly assist doormats.
Nice people understand the difference between being generous and being taken advantage of. They do their best to help others, but they don't let them go too far.
Surprisingly, I discovered in Give and Take that doormats are at the bottom of the achievement scale. So nice people come first, takers come second, and doormats come last.
7. They are not only nice to others, but they are also nice to themselves
So many people are nice to others while being extremely critical of themselves. They believe they are being truthful. They may even complain about “sabotaging” themselves, but because they are “honest,” they have a good excuse.
However, the truth is that they are employing double standards. They are only demotivating themselves when they speak negatively to themselves. It's one thing to say, “I'm so fat, I'll never lose weight,” and quite another to say, “My previous choices made me fat, but my new ones will lead me to a better place.” To be a truly nice person, you must be nice to everyone, including yourself.
8. They don't make excuses for not doing what they say they'll do
Nice people encourage themselves to do the things they want to do by talking nicely to themselves. Assume they want to exercise. They will not make excuses for not being able to do it. They will instead encourage themselves to figure it out. They could try yoga, go for longer walks, or exercise for five minutes at home.
As a result, they feel more empowered. They have faith in their ability to accomplish their goals. Nothing is going to get in their way. And it's possible that's why people who exercise earn 9% more than everyone else.
So, what are you waiting for if you want to write a book, learn to cook, or declutter your home?
9. Failure is viewed as a stepping stone to success
When others become demotivated because things did not go their way, nice people start looking for “the next cow.” Nice people understand that saying “No” is the first step toward saying “Yes,” and that failure is a stepping stone to success. They don't celebrate failure, but they also don't make a big deal out of it.
And it is because of this that when others give up, nice people persevere. When others believe everything is bleak, nice people are confident they will achieve their objectives.
10. They have the ability to influence others
Best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuck once stated that he spent a few minutes on the phone with people while driving. Gary now has thousands of followers. This is not a behavior that can be replicated by every single follower. Nonetheless, he does everything he can to assist. Even using his driving time to his advantage.
And the public appreciates it. They are aware that Gary is extremely busy, but he makes time for them one-on-one. They are extremely grateful, and they have become lifelong Gary fans as a result.
Guess who will support Gary when he publishes a new book or embarks on a new venture? Hundreds or thousands of people who have already benefited from his services. Gary is unexpectedly nice, and his fans will automatically support him, even before they have reviewed his work.
That's how powerful nice people can be.
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