🦸♂️The Superpower of Being Nice
I often joke that my "thing" is being nice to people.
"What good does it do?" you may ask. Well, depending on your point of view, either not much or quite a lot.
By being nice, I mean more than just smiling and saying polite things. By being nice, I mean thinking actively about others and what benefits them. When I see a job offer my friend might like, I forward it to a friend. When I see a gift I can buy someone, I buy it and either give it directly or wait for a suitable occasion. And since I'm a rebel, I don't like arbitrary occasions.
Being nice also manifests in other ways. When I get unsolicited offers from recruiters, I don't ridicule them but politely mention that I am not interested. Most of the time, this leads nowhere, but sometimes it may result in fascinating relationships. Is the work worth the benefits? It is for me, but you have to decide for yourself.
So once again: what good does it do? For the person on the receiving end, the benefits are quite obvious. But what's in it for me?
For a selfish reason, helping others increases my chances of getting help when I need it. Call it karma, call it the rule of reciprocity, call it however you like. If you are nice to others, they tend to be nicer to you.
There's also the unselfish reason. Watching others grow is fantastic! You may have seen it before. A friend of yours who was always quiet and quite miserable suddenly changes school/job/partner/location and with that blooms and blossoms. Now you wonder how can this be the same person you know.
So how can you practice being nice to others?
Highlight what others are saying. Don't try to be the smartest person in the room. Let others express themselves, especially if they are underrepresented and you're in a privileged position.
Give people the right opportunities. Sometimes asking a favor may help someone show their abilities. Other times, you may send interesting job offers, articles, books, or other material. If you feel what you've just stumbled upon may help someone, forward it to them.
Share what you've learned. While this is usually not directed at a particular person, sharing your journey (especially your struggles, doubts, and failures) empowers others.
Show compassion. Share your meal with someone, spend time with those who feel lonely, volunteer to help those in need.
Now, Let's Get to Business
And being nice is helpful in business too. In his speech known as "Make Good Art," the author Neil Gaiman mentions three qualities expected from a freelancer:
1. Do good work
2. Be nice
3. Be on time
He also mentions that you only need to master two of them to be successful. The full speech is available on YouTube. There's also a comic version made from part of it.
Would you like to live in a world where people are nice and helpful and friendly? Well, I would. And by my actions, I'm changing the world around me.