Rise of the Nice Guy

His days of finishing last are officially over.

Can I let you in on a little secret?

Do you know the one thing that I want more than almost anything?

A new car? A bigger house? More zeroes at the end of my paycheck? More Twitter followers?

None of those things are even close.

I want a nicer world.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared this here on The Positivity Solution, but this simple goal is the passion that drives pretty much all of my actions on a daily basis.

Let’s be real–this world need more kindness.

We need more civility. We need more positivity. Simply put, we need to treat each other better at work, at home, everywhere.

I’ll admit that I’m a little weird when it comes to the topic of kindness.

When I see people treated poorly, it really bothers me. A LOT.

Some people are able to shrug it off and ignore it, but I can’t for some reason. In fact, when I see other people being treated horribly, it has been known to literally ruin my day.

This particular situation caused me to lose sleep for the entire weekend after I witnessed it.

Yes, seriously.

My friends joke that I was born with the “empathy gene on steroids.” I actually used to think  that it was a curse to hurt so deeply for other people.

This might sound weird to some people reading this, but there have been many private moments in my life where I wished that I didn’t care so much.

I don’t wish for that anymore. Now I wish for something far more meaningful:

A nicer world.

Actually, I’m far past “wishing” for it. I’m ready to take action. I want to create a movement.

Here. Today. Now.

I have finally accepted that my particular reason for being on earth is throw my heart and soul into making this a world a nicer place.

Someone has to do it, right?

The thing is, now I really want this responsibility. Besides taking care of my family, there’s nothing that I will ever do personally or professionally that will be more important than this.

In order to make it happen, we’re going to need a plan.

Here it is.

The New Era is Finally Here

As of the moment that you’re reading these words, I’m officially declaring this the Era of the Nice Guy (and Nice Gals too, of course).

Jerks, bullies, and asshats of the world, please be warned: Being an insufferable punk-ass is officially out of style. It’s time to get with the program.

Speaking of the program, here it is in 3 simple steps:

Step #1: Be nice to everybody you encounter (at home, at work, at the mall, while you are in your car in traffic, everywhere), and resolve to consistently treat the people of this world with kindness, dignity and respect.

Step #2: Be nice when no one is watching and when you think no one is watching. That means not being an ass behind someone’s back or behind the anonymity of a computer screen. Being nice to someone’s face and a total jerk behind their back actually makes you the worst kind of asshat of all.

Step #3: Be nice to YOU! Give yourself a break when you make a mistake, be kind to the only body you’ll ever have, refuse to be anyone’s doormat, and love yourself enough to systematically cut out the relationships in your life that don’t honor the best of who you are.

Simple, right? Then let’s commit to making it happen.

If we can get millions of people to simply do these 3 things, we will change the world.

But before we can reach millions, we need to start with us.

Today.

Fair warning, if you’re not up for a challenge, you’re probably going to hate what you’re about to read.

Nothing that you’ll see below is going to be very easy, but then again, changing the world is never easy. But if we need something to be “easy” in order to do what’s right, then that would make us Grade-A chumps.

And I’m confident that there are no chumps reading these words.

Welcome to the Era of the Nice Guy.

Let’s get to it.

Step #1: Be Nice to Everybody You Encounter

Yeah, I said it. Everybody.

(Author’s note: If there’s someone in your life who you feel doesn’t deserve your kindness, I have something for you in Step #2.)

Yes, we can do this.

Think about it: If you knew of a person who was nice to some people, but not nice to others, would you consider him/her to be a nice person overall?

I wouldn’t.

Withholding kindness to anyone is now officially out of style–you heard it here first. On the flip side, I know how much work we need to do as a society in order to make niceness something that is officially “in style.”

If you don’t believe that we have a lot of work to do, keep reading.

Most of you are already aware of the fact that I’m a hardcore optimist, but I’ll be damned if some of the hideous behavior that I witnessed firsthand in the past few months didn’t put my optimism to a serious test.

For example:

  • A customer viciously (I mean, viciously–ask my wife, she was there too) cursing out a UPS delivery man for something that was completely the customer’s fault.
  • A management professional smugly declaring that she’s proud of the fact that she’s able to make at least one of her employees cry each week, and that’s she known around her work area as “the Queen Bitch.”
  • An employee had her cubicle vandalized by an anonymous coward who used a Sharpie to write “retard” over a picture of her daughter (who has Down Syndrome) that was hung up in her cubicle.
  • Another anonymous coward (this time on a website that I follow) directed a comment to the author of an article that simply said, “I hope that you get cancer and die.”

I’m always up for a good debate–really, I am.

But seriously, does anyone out there think that there is any possible scenario where it is okay to behave in any of the ways that I just described in the bullet points above? If so, please let me know because I’m open to hearing it.

But while I’m waiting to hear the indefensible other side of the story, here’s my side: People who engage in this type of behavior are actively making the world a shittier place for all of us.

I am sick and tired of all of the lame excuses too.

“Hey Shola, people can be assholes–that’s just the way it is.”

“Hey Shola, that’s life man–deal with it.”

“Hey Shola, just brush it off and move on–not everyone is a nice guy, you know.”

Enough.

We cannot change the world at work, at home, or anywhere else, if we are unwilling to demand more from everyone, including ourselves.

There is no reason to believe that we can’t all live in a world where treating each other with kindness, dignity, and respect is the norm and not the exception.

At this point you may be thinking: Creating a nicer world is impossible. This dude is crazy…

Maybe I am, but I know what’s much crazier:

Doing nothing.

Before you dismiss all of this “nicer world” stuff as deluded optimistic crazy talk, here’s my response to you:

If enough people believe that it is important enough to have a world of kindness and civility, and they are willing to make their voices heard (that’s the part where most people slip up), it will happen. It has to happen.

Every revolution began with a crazy person who had a better vision for the world than the one he/she was currently experiencing.

Just so you know, I am totally okay with being that crazy person.

Ushering in the Era of the Nice Guy might seem like an enormous social shift (and it is), but we can no longer use the enormity of the task as an excuse to do nothing.

We can take action this minute by being the change that we want to see in the world.

Choose to smile. Be supportive and a team player. Say thank you consistently, and be sincere when you do it. Apologize quickly when/if you lose your temper. Refuse to use your loved ones as your emotional dumping ground whenever you have a bad day. Lead others by using a spirit of mutual respect instead of fear and bullying. Brighten someone’s day with a sincere compliment. Give people your undivided attention. And most importantly, treat all people (regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or any other silly reason that we use to separate ourselves) with kindness, dignity, and respect consistently.

Being nice to others has the power to change everything, and it’s up to us to make nice the new normal.

So far, so good?

Great.

Unfortunately, what you just read was the easy part.

It’s time to ramp up the difficulty significantly.

Step #2: Be Nice When No One is Watching

It’s easy to smile in someone’s face and put up the appearance of niceness–even some of the worst human beings alive are capable of doing what I described under Step #1. But here’s the real challenge:

Can you be nice when no one is watching?

Smiling a lot and saying “please” and “thank you” to other people’s faces means absolutely nothing if you’re a shady, cowardly, passive-aggressive, backstabbing, slithering snake behind their backs.

We all know of people who are only happy when they’re spreading gossip, doing the mean girl/mean guy routine, talking crap about others, or cowardly hiding behind a computer screen to say things that they would never dream of saying to someone’s face.

Make no mistake, the above behaviors are the calling cards of the biggest asshats of all.

Step #2 of officially making the world a nicer place requires us to raise our games significantly. And by “raise our games” I’m talking about doing something that Mom taught us all when we were 5 years old:

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” 

That is the best, and sadly, most under-used piece of advice ever created.

Verbally destroying people who we deeply dislike might make us feel good temporarily, but here’s a quote that I now have printed over my desk to stare at whenever I think about going down that sad route:

If a vessel contains acid and you pour some on an object, it’s still the vessel that sustains the most damage.” –Tim Ferris

Make no mistake, we are the vessel.

In the spirit of full vulnerability and transparency, please don’t think that I’m somehow above all of this.

I’m a work in progress, and I’ve engaged in this type of behavior more than I’d like to admit. But as my commitment to making the world a nicer place has grown within me, I realized that my behavior had to “grow up” too.

If I really want to make this world a better place–I mean, a much better place–then I have to do a hell of a lot more than just talk about it.

I must consistently be about it.

Let’s be real. I’m sure that there are people in your life who you believe don’t deserve your kindness.

Currently, I work with someone who is mean-spirited and is a flat-out bully (if you’re there too, I feel your pain), I have a neighbor who is a complete nightmare (maybe you can relate), and I have family members who drive me crazy once in awhile (I know that I’m not alone on that one).

Even so, I don’t have to make the destructive choice to fill my vessel with acid by being as much of a jerk as they are–especially behind their backs.

Fighting fire with fire is the most mindless phrase ever. Have you ever seen a fireman run into a burning building with a flamethrower?

Yeah, me neither.

Fire is beaten with water–not more fire, and definitely not acid.

Believe me, I’m all for venting to a trusted friend about a coworker, customer, boss, family member, (etc.) who is driving you insane–I don’t plan on giving that up. Hell, I think a solid venting session is good for our mental health. But, to avoid having the water in our vessels turn into acid, here’s how we need to do it:

  1. Vent fully and get the feelings completely out of our system.
  2. Immediately afterwards, stop spending any more negative thoughts/energy on that person.
  3. And (here’s the biggie), be the bigger person by limiting your interactions with him/her and wish the person well. This does not have to be done to the person’s face–doing it quietly to yourself is just fine.

This is why Step #2 of making the world a nicer place is so much harder than Step #1.

Being nice to everyone’s face is the easy stuff–seriously, I’m sure that Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and other hideously evil human beings were capable of handling aspects of Step #1 with relative ease on occasion.

The real challenge comes from being sincerely nice by doing so when no one is watching, and when we don’t feel like it.

I’ve fallen short on Step #2 way too often, but if I’m serious about making the world a nicer place, this step must be performed consistently. Harboring anger and resentment toward the various jerks in our lives doesn’t make us nicer people. In fact, all it does is cause us to walk through life rocking a permanent mean-mug while the poison inside of us continues to build.

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” -Buddha

Eventually the poison will eat us alive.

True kindness is going to require us to let go of resentment, anger, and bitterness.

And yes, it could require some serious practice on our part to finally get it right.

Hey, no one said that this “nice guy” stuff was going to be easy.

We still haven’t even gotten to the hardest step yet.

Step #3:  Be Nice to You

Unfortunately, some of the nicest people in the world fail miserably at this final step.

I have known many amazing people who consistently handle the first two steps of the “niceness plan” like a champ.

They are nice to everyone who they encounter, they don’t engage in any cowardly backstabbing–but when it comes to offering the same level niceness to themselves, they are either unable or unwilling to do it.

For some reason, they believe that it is more important to be nice to others while neglecting themselves. Trust me, I’ve been there before (who am I kidding? I’m still there in many ways.)

This is the burden of the Nice Guy/Gal.

Sometimes when you’re nice to others and not to yourself, you’ll end up encountering people who will happily take advantage of your “niceness” and use you as a doormat.

That’s why we must honor ourselves by realizing that we are our own best friend–and more importantly, start acting like it.

Even though it’s obvious that the only people who appreciate doormats are people with dirty shoes, we still allow these people to wipe their stank, nasty shoes all over our backsides, even when we see it coming from a mile away:

  • Your significant other loses his temper and yells at you because he knows that you’re too nice to do anything else but suck it up and deal with it.
  • Your boss singles you out by overloading you with work and having you take on extra projects because he knows that you’re too nice to ask for the work to be spread equally among your coworkers.
  • Your neighbor has raging parties at all hours of the night and has no plans of stopping because she knows that you’re too nice to say anything about it.
  • Your friend keeps “borrowing” money from you because she knows that you’re too nice to ever ask her to pay it back.

If nothing else, please remember this:

We teach others how to treat us.

Please read that again.

We teach others how to treat us. 

When we’re nice to ourselves, we naturally treat ourselves with the love, dignity, and respect that we deserve. Once we do that, we’re in the perfect position to nicely deal with people who try to take advantage of us.

In case you were wondering, that “perfect position” is an upright position instead of lying face down in the dirt like a doormat.

Step #3 is the hardest step because we’ve been told all of our lives how important it is to put others first. We pour all of our niceness out to everyone else without considering the critical importance of leaving some of that niceness for ourselves.

Being liked by others is awesome, but liking loving yourself is SO much better–especially if we are serious about making the world a nicer place.

That’s why the final step is the most important one, because we cannot be nice to others if we’re not nice to ourselves.

I’ll leave it to one of my favorite quotes to say it far better than I ever could:

There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.” –Nathaniel Branden

Sounds about right to me.

The Niceness Revolution

The revolution is here, people. The Era of the Nice Guy is upon us.

I believe that there are millions of people who crave a world of civility, friendliness, positivity, mutual respect, and good ol’ fashioned niceness in the worst way.

I refuse to believe that I’m alone on this, but I guess that we’re about to find out once we get to the end of this post.

If you’ve read this far, you could be the spark at the beginning of something incredible.

You could be a part of a revolution that will make the world a nicer and more loving place for you, your kids, your friends, your neighbors, and for everyone. 

If we’re going to put meanness, backstabbing, and self-hate out of style forever, it has to start with us believing that we can do it.

Every revolution started somewhere, and I want the start of this revolution to be here, now, and with us.

The alternative is that you could read the final few sentences in this post, think that this “Era of the Nice Guy” stuff is a cool idea (but totally unrealistic), and then forget all about it in less than 5 minutes.

That’s a very real possibility too.

The choice is yours, but I’ve already made mine.

I can promise you that with every fiber of my being that I am committing my heart, soul, and everything in my power to create a nicer and better world for you and me, starting now.

If you’re with me, then there’s really only two things left to do:

  1. Commit with me to live the 3 steps, starting today.
  2. Spread the word and get as many people as possible to do the same.

That’s exactly how the revolution will start. Seriously, it’s just about committing to those two things.

With all of that said, I guess now is a good time to tell you that I left the toughest question for last.

Are you with me?

Your Turn

Are you down with the challenge of making the world a nicer place? Which of the 3 steps in this post do you think will be the hardest for you to do consistently? Don’t hesitate to jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!

Shola

Shola

Founder of The Positivity Solution
Author, keynote speaker, and kindness extremist who is committed to changing the world by helping as many people as possible to live and work with more positivity.
Shola
Shola

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Comments

  1. Chrissy Remlinger says:

    I absolutely love this website. I am so thankful to have found it. Thank you so much for creating this, it is definitely helping me . Keep up the great work !! Keep smiling and have a great day!!

    • Shola, a very special poet put it very simply,”Imagine,” we are indeed dreamers willing to make a start. All movements began with a dream. This is your dream, no, this is our dream. We dare to dream and to commit to making this dream a reality in our own little ways. Thank you, my brother.

      • Yes Janet! I believe in this dream so much, and imagine the beauty of a nicer world everyday. I can promise you that I will be fighting for this dream until the day that I die (but hopefully it will be achieved before then ;)) Thank you for being a part of the solution, my friend!

    • I’m glad you found us too, Chrissy! Thanks for being here!

  2. Shola,

    You really are the one thing that redeems Mondays. When I get an email from you saying you have a new blog post, I cannot wait to follow the link! When I have had things on Mondays that have kept me away from the computer, I become sad!!! 🙁

    As for your post, you know exactly where I stand on this. My mantra is basically, “Kindness always.”

    On my office door (I work with at risk youth), I have this quote:

    “When you have the choice to be right or to be kind, choose to be kind.” —Wayne Dyer

    One day, a young woman was standing right outside my door. She was reading the sign to herself when she blurted out, “That’s stupid!”

    I asked her what she meant. She said, “If I am right, you need to know I’m right! I’m not gonna kind!”

    Her words made me sad. I could see in her expression that she saw NO VALUE in kindness. None.

    That told me she did not understand what kindness is. It is also very likely she has not experienced it enough in her life for it to be of value.

    Shola, that is why I do what I do. That is why I keep working with those kids. That is why I smile at them, remind them not to use foul language, do weekly cooking lessons with them and weather many stressed out nights. It is all because they do not have any frame of reference to kindness unless I give it to them. Me.

    So I agree with you. Completely. And I continue to work to show everyone kindness. It is not about deserving it. It is about giving it freely, with no expectation of receiving it.

    For me… choose kind. Always.

    • Being the dude that “redeems Mondays” is a huge honor! I feel sad for that young lady, because I used to be just like her when I was a teenager. I totally didn’t value kindness, and just like her, I didn’t get the importance of it. Ironically, it’s people who don’t get the importance of kindness who need it the most. You most likely are the ONLY person in her life who is willing to extend her kindness, and believe me that matters a lot. Even though I didn’t value it at the time, I now look back with EXTREME gratitude at the people who didn’t give up on me by extending me the kindness that I didn’t even know that I needed. You are doing amazing work Kathy. Keep choosing kindness, ALWAYS.

  3. Shola, what a vision for the future, count me in!!

    “Every revolution began with a crazy person who had a better vision for the world than the one he/she was currently experiencing. Just so you know, I am totally okay with being that crazy person.” I love it!!!!

    Thanks again for your wonderful words! With love and gratitude,

    • Viva la revolucion, Carolyn! I’m a kindness extremist, and I believe that this world would be SO much better (at work, at home, and everywhere else) if we just stopped to treat each other with kindness, dignity, and respect consistently. Love and gratitude to you too, my friend!

  4. Toni Coward says:

    I LOVE this!!!!! You rock!!!! I’m in!!!

    Thank you!!! 🙂

  5. Thanks for your words of reinforcement of what I try to do each and every day. I really struggle with being a doormat. People know that I am “good ole Jude”. I am trying to work on that as I know I have self worth, but its been drummed into me since I was a little kid that others always came first, and being the youngest in a large family reinforced the fact that I just rolled with the punches and did whatever was asked. Keep up your good words

    • I hear you, Jude. It took me a while to learn that lesson too, but I finally realized that I couldn’t fully love others or be the best person that I could be until I learned how to love myself unconditionally. There’s nothing nice about being a doormat, because being truly kind involves giving kindness to yourself too. And believe me my friend, you deserve it 🙂

  6. Amen Shola!

    I’m with ya! Living in LA myself I see nasty and cruel behavior all the time. Many times it is coming from young people which is particularly disturbing to me. I’ve been complaining for a while that too many people don’t know the definition of consideration and empathy. Even the simplest of pleasant actions is met with indifference – I smile at or greet people when I take my walk in the morning and the majority of the time I am completely ignored – I still do it though! I’m pretty sure I’m not threatening in any way (you might say I’m petite) but, people almost go out of their way to look the other way. Where I completely identify with you is that I’ve always been seriously bothered when others are being hurt or humiliated. Especially in my last job when I would bring attention to behavior that was demeaning and insensitive – the response I would generally get? They/you need to get a thicker skin! That answer was unacceptable to me, I eventually took myself out of that situation – it was making me snippy and not such a nice person which was even more disheartening. I’m back to normal – I sometimes give people something I have because they admired it – not looking for anything in return, I just thought it might brighten their day – I also have created t-shirt designs encouraging people to be kind to people and animals. Now I sound like I’m boasting – not intentional! I have to admit that I have difficultly with #3, but I’m getting better – the mud is starting to dry. I sincerely hope more people jump on your bandwagon, I’m certainly up there with you and I will do my part to spread the revolution. Whew, I was a bit long winded today – please forgive 🙂

    I bow to your courage and generosity bringing this subject to the forefront!!!!!

    • Hey Kat! Yes–we do see a special kind of rudeness, cruelty, and asshatry (I just made that word up) living in LA, don’t we? You’re so right, the common solution of “getting a thicker skin” is such a lame response to deal with rudeness. I guess that’s why I’m doing this. We need to start having the conversation about making kindness more common. Trust me, it’s not boasting that you created t-shirts encouraging people to be nice to people and animals, that’s awesome! We need more of it! Keep working on #3 (believe me, we’re ALL working on that one, so don’t feel alone), and let’s do our part to make LA a kinder place today than it was yesterday!

  7. One more thing….Kathy, bless you for the work you do – hopefully your influence will be embraced!

  8. Shola,

    I completely and utterly love this movement, and I’m on board. I think the world needs to know how important and how beneficial it is to be the “nice guy” (or “nice gal”). Kindness to others goes a long LONG way.

    That being said, what’s up with calling out people who are jerks and asshats? It would seem to me that these people need love and understanding more than anyone else. Maybe they’re jerks because they’re hiding something about themselves that they’re ashamed or afraid to admit – if even only in their own mind. I don’t know. It just seems to me that we all need to open our minds and our arms to others who need love – that’s what your mission of kindness is all about.

    I love you what you do, bud. Keep up the amazing work, and thank you for being such a beam of light to people who need that ray of sunshine in their lives. You are awesome. Please don’t forget that.

    Much love.

    • To be honest, when I see horrible terrible treatment of others, it hurts me A LOT. And sometimes, the only way to describe people who engage in that behavior consistently is a jerk/asshat. You’re right–unkind people are usually the people who need our kindness the most, and I believe in that wholeheartedly. But I’d be lying to all of you if I said that I didn’t think that the person who wrote “retard” over a picture of my coworker’s daughter with Down Syndrome, wasn’t a raging asshat (actually, my wording for that person was MUCH harsher than that.) Being as real as possible, it hurts me deeply when I see people get hurt. Thanks for reading Peter, and I appreciate the comment!

  9. Shola, Shola, Shola!! You are so right on, I can’t even begin. I love this post so much, and I am right there with you. Need an ambassador? Count on me. (BTW, I’ve been meaning to tell you that every time I wear my Positivity Solution T-shirt, given to me by the lovely Spring, I invariably see SOMEone looking at it and then smiling. No kidding.)

    Also, twice during the past week, I have had experiences that have made me think of you. One: For the umpteen-millionth time in my life, I’ve been told that “You’re too happy”. And for the umpteen-millionth time, I’ve had to do a whole self-therapy session with myself so that I won’t feel as badly about myself as the deliverer of this message meant me to feel. Unfortunately, unhappy people want you right there with them. I thought of your recent post regarding just this situation, and I just want you to know that remembering your words really validated and helped me that day!! Two: Just this morning, I told the cashier at the McDonald’s drive-thru that her pink braids looked adorable the way they were coming out of her hat. Not a big, important statement, just a fast compliment. However, it made her instantly become fully human, and smile from ear-to-ear with a sincerity that made me feel great, too. …..My 15-year old son, who truly is one of the world’s nicest people, and was sitting beside me, began laughing at me as we pulled away. He always laughs at me, these days, in a condescending way, when I have a kind interaction with somebody. I think it embarrasses him. I can’t wait until he grows up enough to see past the teenager-embarrassment. For me, it is so important to try to make somebody’s day. It is so important to share goodness with others. I am sure that my son has an amazing heart, and probably has the same values that I have in this area, deep in his soul…but the teenager thing gets in the way for him. BUT! Reading this post, I have had a revelation: He needs to read your blog! You are just the example he needs, to know that it’s cool to be kind. I think your words will really resonate with him. I think that reading your words will help to get him over this “embarrassment” hump more quickly.
    SHOLA, I THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!! 🙂 (And my self-esteem thanks you as well: it’s no fun having a teenager laugh at you every time you try to do something nice!)

    • Right on Steph! I’m glad that you’re rocking the Positivity Solution gear with pride! And seriously, isn’t crazy the amount of smiles that you get when you wear that shirt? It’s almost like it’s a smile magnet!

      I feel you so much about the “too happy” thing–as you said, misery loves company (specifically, they love miserable company.) There is no such thing as “too happy,” and I’m glad that you didn’t let that person dim your amazing light. Secondly, isn’t it amazing how powerful a simple compliment or praise can be to a person who doesn’t hear it often? I swear, this world is appreciation starved and there’s no doubt that your compliment completely made that lady’s day at the drive-thru. And yes, send my blog to your son! I have a way of getting through to teenagers, so let me have a shot at him–hopefully we can get him over that embarrassment hump in a hurry 😉 Thanks for reading, as always!

  10. Hi Shola!
    So on board ! I have been working on practicing this for several years! Great website with tons of resources! Thanks!
    Shannon

    • Hey Shannon, I’m so glad to hear that you’re on board! The world needs more people like you who are willing to deliver kindness on a consistent basis. Keep rockin’ it, my friend!

  11. Hi Shola,

    Did you ever see that bumper sticker from several years ago that said “Stop Bitching. Start a Revolution!” ? This article made me think of that. I have never had a strong desire to start a revolution, or even be a part of one, until I read your words. Finally, something I believe in with every fiber of my being! I have been told on many occasions that I am too nice! Hahaha, nice hasn’t even started! Watch out world, here comes nice. But first, allow me to savor this feeling on the inside, just for me, just for a few minutes. Surely, then it will gush out and seep into those around me…by the way, I am with you! Can we get t-shirts?

    • Hey Robin! I’ve never seen that bumper sticker before, but I want one! If there has ever been a revolution that’s worth starting, it’s this one. We need to rid the world of the insane idea that it’s possible to be “too nice,” and instead we need to make kindness much more common at work, at home, everywhere. And yes, the world does need to watch out (specifically, the asshats that may try to unsuccessfully get in our way.) As for the t-shirts, stay tuned… 😉

  12. Great post as always Shola! 😀 I especially like the part about not saying anything if you have nothing nice to say! I mean really, it’s one of the first things we teach our children (at least I hope it is). It’s especially important to remember in this information age when people can hide behind their computer screens and spew nastiness with no real confrontation other than a facebook or twitter fight. You don’t have to like everything you read or see, you don’t have to like everyone you meet and they don’t have to like you either, but dang it…you do have to be nice!! And so, YES!!! If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all!!

    I’m right there with you when you talk about how upset it makes you when you see others treated poorly. I feel so deeply upset about it that it’s hard to put in to words. I believe that you are doing great work here with your blog though b/c the positivity that is spread here ripples and that’s what the world needs. We need millions of little ripples of kindness and smiles spreading throughout the universe!

    Here’s a quote for you (I know you love quotes) 🙂

    “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
    ― Robert F. Kennedy

    Have a wonderful week Shola!

    • Yes Spring! Seriously, why speak if we don’t have something nice to say? I remember learning something as a kid that I still teach in my classes today. Before speaking, ask yourself: 1) Is it kind?, 2) Is it true?, and 3) Is it necessary? If I can’t say “yes” to all 3 questions, then I tell myself that I should probably keep my mouth shut. I’m glad that I’m not alone when it comes to being upset about seeing people being treated poorly–it truly drives me nuts. But I can tell you that the Robert Kennedy quote that you just shared with me is going to give me the strength to keep fighting to make this revolution a reality. Thanks Spring!

  13. I love the idea of this being a revolution, a shifting of thought and action by a whole community. I also wanted to write that I found your description of this type of super empathy to be shockingly accurate. I’ve never read or heard of anyone else feeling this way, but I’ve always had it too. I remember sobbing in grade school when I saw other kids being bullied, and all through my life I have seemed to express a huge capacity for empathy- I have no idea why. For years I was told that I was “overly sensitive” or “not tough enough”, but I never changed because in my heart I never felt that being less sensitive or compassionate toward the needs of others was a good thing. Now I realize it is a huge strength, it makes love and understanding come so much easier for me than for many other people, and it makes me much slower to anger or judgment. I feel so lucky to be able to feel the feelings of the people around me, sometimes I feel like I can truly feel them- I can just speak to someone and sense their sadness or their joy, just as strongly as I can feel a shift in temperature. We live in a world where thick skin and personal success are seen as end goals and where compassion and empathy are viewed as weaknesses- I say we all stand together and change that perception. Thanks so much for your blog. -Mona

    • Wow Mona, you and I are like kindred spirits! My capacity of empathy is almost through the roof, and I get deeply saddened when I see people treated poorly. You are SO right, caring about others is a huge strength and not a weakness like some people would like you to believe. Being able to feel the joys and the sadness around us is what helps us to be deeply connected to the world around us, and that is definitely a good thing. We have a lot of work to do, and I believe that is people just like you who will be the ones who change the world. Thanks for being here Mona, and never change, ok?

  14. Somehow I lost your emails recently, but I’m back signed up and wanted to let you know (belatedly) that I am ALL IN!

    Be that one crazy person, Shola. There are plenty of other crazies more than happy to have your back. 🙂

    • Welcome back my friend, I missed you! And I’m glad that you have my back because you know that I’ll always have yours. Crazies for the win!

  15. A world full of kindness may sound impossible – but world-changing movements happen and nothing is out of reach.

    I’d say #2 is probably the hardest one of them all. Specifically, being nice even when I don’t feel like it. We all have moments where we are tired or a bit down and we just don’t want to be bothered. But in reality, we need to recognize that we have to pull through and treat everyone respectfully regardless of how tired we may feel.

    Keep spreading this message man. I’m definitely on board.

    • Hey Kev! I know that most people say that #3 is the toughest, but just like you, my hardest is #2 without a doubt. When I see someone treat someone I care about like shit, it’s not easy for me to extend kindness to that person. I’m a big-time work in progress in that regard, but I’m working on it. Thanks for being on board my man, I need you!

  16. So…long time reader, first time commenter here. This was EXACTLY what I needed to read today, thank you Shola. I am always being asked “Why are you so happy?” and “Why are you so nice to everyone?” and I was really starting to doubt myself and wonder if by doing these things I was doing something wrong!

    • Hey Pietra! Believe me, I’m right there with you–I get the same questions almost on a daily basis. Let me be the first to say that you are doing nothing wrong, my friend. In fact, it’s amazing people like you who are going to be the ones who change the world. Whatever you do, don’t change, ok? The revolution needs you! 🙂

  17. This was an awesome post! Imagine a world where we all followed just those three simple steps. We’ll get there, baby steps!

    Another point that I thought of towards being nice is how we treat an individual who has absolutely ‘no value’ to us. By that I mean how you treat your boss, or a cop that just pulled you over or your friends is one thing, but how you treat somebody who can’t directly help you move forward in life.

    I think that is a good way to judge if you are really are a ‘nice guy’ or not, and who knows, down the road that person may end up having a huge value to your life so don’t screw that up now!

  18. Thank you very much for this post, Shola and for your blog. Looking forward to reading more! I think the hardest of the 3 for me to do consistently will be #2. I can be kind to people in person, but when they are not around is the real test…..well, so maybe it’s #1 then….being genuinely kind. I don’t know. We’ll see….I’m up for the challenge! Starting now!
    Thanks!
    Brandi

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