Nice Guys Finish Last

Joginder Singh ji
(Former Director – CBI)

There is a saying that a squeaky wheel gets all the grease and “Nice guys finish last”. We see it happening everyday, when in an effort, to be nice to others, we give our turn for boarding taxi to others, or give our seat or umbrella then wait, sometimes, till eternity.

Then we feel, that it is not fair. There is nothing wrong, in being nice. But the danger is, that if you are nice to everybody, then you are doing it, at the cost of your time, energy and sometimes money. It in effect, means not being nice, to yourself.

Ultimately, your exercise of being not nice to yourself can back fire. It is essential for you, to think for yourself, without, simply agreeing, to what others say. You do not, have to be, a people pleaser, all the time. Do not bend, so backward, that you accommodate everyone, except yourself.

Be polite and courteous, but do not have ” parasitical ” relationships where you are always at the giving end. Any relationship, to be lasting, should be mutually beneficial.
When somebody asks you to do something, about which you feel uncomfortable , for whatever reason, you have every right to proffer regret. I get a lot of request for attending programmes, seminars and conference. My first reply is, that my schedule is maintained, by my Private Secretary.

I suggest that let a request be sent in writing or by a E mail and I will get back to them. This gives me a chance to weigh the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting a request. So accordingly, I say yes or no. You can make, good and rational decisions, only by thinking out a problem, from all angles.

You should reassess all sides, or any given the state of affairs, to determine, what is wrong or right decision, best suited for you. Something may be right and correct for others in a given situation, but not necessarily for you. Go for a deep analysis, so that you do not regret your decisions later on.

You should keep an open mind and ask questions to clarify any situation. It is only by questioning and getting their answers, you can discover the true State of affairs and the strength or solidity of the suggestions made by others. Nobody can be, a know all. There is nothing wrong in being inquisitive. It will help, increasing your understanding of the issues. Since everybody has his own opinions, there is no harm in having your own opinions on any issue or issues. But you must keep an open mind, so that you can listen and discuss with others, and come to better decisions. At the same time, respect the choices and opinions of others. It is only by asking questions, that you can increase your understanding of the things.

A clear mind free of confusion, false ideas and misplaced blame, is in the best position to remedy or mend, the worst of any situation. No idea and no theory is eternal. They are all, subject to correction, amendment and rectification. We should not have a closed mind and guard ourselves against a stagnant thinking.

Basically, you should stop agreeing with anything and everything suggested by others, unless, you also really feel so. There are, some people, who to show, their so called intellectual prowess and superiority, disagree with everything suggested by others. They are constantly arguing, even on trivial matters. Nobody likes them, as they behave, like a pain in the neck.

Speak up in a way, which shows that not every expression of disagreement can be odious. Do not allow people, to disrespect or disregard you. You have to stand up for yourself. Do not expect others to stand up for you. Do not allow yourself to be treated as a door mat or taken for granted by your colleagues, friends and even your superiors. While it is a good idea to be a nice guy, but any relationship is a two way street. If you are always striving to be a nice guy, you would find that there would be a lot of people, who would be too happy to pass on their work to you, to avoid doing the same themselves. Do not accept such a suggestion straight away. Tell them that you would review whether you can fit the same in your schedule or not, depending upon your work load. Marilyn Monroe, famous American actress of 1950 once rightly said;
Say good-bye to Pat, say good-bye to Jack and say good-bye to yourself, because you’re a nice guy.”