For as long as I can remember I’ve consistently heard the phrase, “Nice Guys Finish Last”.
Heck, I’ve gone through a spell of that mindset.
I remember I used to be the “nice guy” that always did the right things but never got anywhere. I would see a lot of people getting what they wanted and they were never anywhere as nice or respectful as I was. Hell, I thought a lot of them were dicks.
This baffled me and for the longest time I too became victim to the dreaded idea that I, a nice guy, would indeed finish last.
I mean, I would bend over backwards for people. I would go out of my way to ask about how they were doing and what I could do for them.
This applied to everything, but of course it always came back to being that “nice guy” with girls and never getting anywhere.
I remember, I would be the guy on the end of a phone counseling my crying friend. She would be beautiful and intelligent but she never noticed me. I was the guy that cheered her up, meanwhile she was chasing guys that were never good enough for her.
Yet here I was, being nice, asking how I could help and what I could do. In return I would receive the dreaded, “Thank you so much for being here for me. I’m so lucky to have a FRIEND like you”.
Those words will forever be crushing the spirits of nice guys and gals…
Luckily, over time, I unknowingly grew out of the “nice guy” grave.
It hasn’t been until recently that I finally started to realize why and how.
You see, for as long as I can remember I was always a little go getter. I grew up hungry. Not in a food sense, but in a sense that I wanted to conquer the world.
I don’t know what made me like that, it’s just how I was. Friends would be playing outside nonstop and I would be inside reading. I would be figuring out ways on how to make money so I could buy whatever I desired.
I would ask to go to hobby lobby so I could purchase materials to make/invent little devices to make my life easier.
I remember looking back and modifying organization trays to fit my needs for my crayons and color pencils. I remember I once made a duct tape wallet of sorts that divided my spending money from my saving money.
I did all of this, but for the life of me I struggled to attract women that I felt I could “go out” with. I’m thinking back to middle school where this meant holding hands in the hallway, writing love notes and having our parents drive us to Dairy Queen for ice cream.
Great story Pablo, but this is a travel/lifestyle design blog that you’re working on. How does this tie into any of it?
Patience dear friends and readers, I’m getting there.
Let me fast forward to just before my backpacking trip last summer.
At this point, right before my trip and even now, I started to get called out by my male friends as a dick.
They thought I was no longer the “nice guy”. They said that the reason people were drawn to me was because I was a dick. They didn’t know how or why people would rather talk to me and open up to me compared to them.
Now, let’s move forward into the trip to the point where I met this woman in Panama.
I remember sitting on a dock with our feet in the water having a conversation about life and who we are and what we wanted to do.
I remember I would bashfully tell her that I wanted to write and eventually have an audience and that with their support I could do great things. At the same time I remember nervously telling her that I dropped out of school and didn’t know if I wanted to go back.
Within that same conversation she changed my mindset. I went from saying, “Yeah, I’m not going to school, I’m on a break, maybe I’ll try again soon” to “I dropped out and it’s the best thing I could have done”
I went from being afraid of what people would think and trying to answer in a way that would please them to owning up to my decisions.
School was never for me. I never enjoyed it. I’m not saying it was a waste. I took advantage of the library and the intelligent and passionate teachers that I had. They were the ones that really pushed me to keep myself engaged and consistently learning about whatever I was passionate about at the time.
Let me move on, unbeknownst to me, that conversation with her was one that finally led me to the point where I am now stating that yes, Nice guys and girls do finish last.
Pablo, what are you saying? Do we have to be dicks to get the people we want or to achieve our goals?
Not at all. I’m saying “nice” people are looking at the world in the wrong way.
We shouldn’t be doing nice things with the idea that we deserve the same back.
I know this sounds right but think about how selfish that actually sounds?
“I’m going to be nice to this guy/girl and because I’m nice to him/her and am at his/her beck and call then he/she should be nice to me, show interest and date me.”
It doesn’t work like that.
How should we look at the world? How should I act towards people? How do I achieve my goals?
What I’m about to say is going to sound crazy but hear me out for a second.
We need to go from being “too nice” to being selfish in a respectful manner.
I said it, selfish. Let me explain by using my blog as an example.
When I first started this blog, going on two years ago, I said in my first post that this blog was not going to be about me.
I was going to be the nice guy and talk about everything and everybody, but me.
I don’t think it was a bad idea, but I know now it wasn’t the best of ideas.
Here’s a brief story…
I remember being at a party one time. My friend was really into this girl and asked me to be a wingman for him. Of course I said yes, it’s my friend and if I can help him I will.
This is when I saw what being “too nice” was and how my blog started off as “too nice”.
We end up talking to the girl and her friend. He is on the shy side, so I would talk him up, get his girl curious and then proceed to engage her friend in small banter.
What killed me and his chances of taking her on a date was his responses to her.
I mentioned an interesting passion of his to her. Interested, she inquired more about it. Instead of talking about himself and what he loves, he played himself down and brought up that I had a similar passion and was more involved with what I did.
Both myself and the girl were confused. She was trying to engage him but he became too modest and spoke too highly of me.
I tried to direct it back to him with something else that the girls would enjoy asking him about.
Again, he played it down and brought up a story of one of my previous trips.
He continuously shot himself in the foot and had no idea he was doing it.
He thought that because he was being nice and taking the attention off of him and not being selfish that he would receive attention and interest.
The exact opposite happened.
This is when I realized what being too nice was and why these nice people consistently finish last.
So back to being selfish and why it works.
Let me shift the idea of selfish. I want you to take the word selfish and instead substitute in the word ‘passionate’.
What does this change?
In my friend’s scenario had he been selfish he would have bragged too much and this would have been a turn off also.
However, had my friend opened up and naturally show how passionate he was, then it would have been a whole different ball game.
This brings me to my blog and life now.
Am I a nice guy? Yeah, I would like to think so and I feel like most people would agree.
Am I getting what I want and going where I want to? Yeah, now that I realized why nice guys finish last, I am.
You see, all it took was for me to realize that it’s not being selfish that I have to be in order to succeed, it’s being passionate.
My conversation in Panama was what started the chain that led me to this conclusion.
Instead of approaching companies and businesses saying, “I’m kind of a travel blogger and I guess I like to write about places” I approach them and confidently say, “Hey, my name is Pablo, I’m a travel blogger and I’m making big things happen”.
At this point I’m sure you’re wondering how does this benefit everybody else?
How can being selfish/passionate help out anybody except myself?
Let me ask you something. Who are you more likely to want to work with; A volunteer that is interested in something or the person that is spearheading the project and really getting things moving?
I’m in no way trying to downplay volunteers, but if you really want to build something you would want to work with the passionate guy at the top right?
They’re the one that is going to get things done.
When people first came to my blog and even until more recently I would say a couple of nice things then move them on to somebody or something else.
I was playing the role of my friend that was being too nice.
That has to change.
I am a travel writer/blogger and photographer. I do plan on traveling and conquering the world.
For the record, no I did not get my degree and I don’t plan on getting it either. If you think that isn’t a wise decision well then keep up, because you’ll be in for a treat :)
And you want to know what? As I’m doing this and chasing my many passions I’ll be giving back like I always wanted.
I’m hoping that I can help anybody reading this to pursue their passions.
As I continue to chase mine, I will be able to invest in my other ventures geared towards helping people in achieving their goals and making a better life for themselves.
Now let me ask you… are you being too nice?