Thursday, 29 March 2012

Be nice ... please

Can you change the world by being nice or do nice people finish last?  The longer I live the more important I think it is to be nice.  Not fake, sickly sweet, over the top, drama queen nice but genuinely kind, thoughtful, heartfelt nice.  I am also beginning to realise it takes great courage, a lot of self confidence and commitment to be nice.  As a society a lot of our media and entertainment comes from not being nice, magazines constantly highlight and describe the pain and misfortune in the lives of celebrities, politicians are constantly horrible about each other, the cool kids at school maintain their status by being mean to others and even as adults often we make ourselves feel better, smarter, more important or popular by being not so nice about other people, excluding them and judging them.

However, recently I have been bombarded with encounters with nice people, a nice real estate agent, a nice solicitor, nice teachers, super nice friends, nice check out attendants, nice people to interview and photograph, just nice people everywhere I turn and it has been spectacular.  This got me thinking how much I really like nice people, and by people being nice they actually have a huge influence in their family, social groups, the community and even the world.

I consider myself incredibly blessed to know and be friends with so many truly nice people, they are really thoughtful and I am hoping their nice-ness is rubbing off on me and influencing my life because it is my experience that nice people do not finish last.  So what does it take to actually be nice?  Basically, you just have to make the conscious decision to be nice, each and every day.  Things like answering the phone with a smile on your voice, giving people a wave and saying hello enthusiastically, lending friends something that will make their life easier or happier, letting people with less items go ahead of you in the line, being considerate to elderly people, not getting impatient when things don’t go exactly as you planned, not talking negatively about people, whether they are in the room or not.  The list is endless.

Some of you are probably thinking ‘If I am nice people will just walk all over me’, not true.  If you are nice, people will like you, they will want to help you, they will want to spend time with you, they will want to be friends with you and other nice people will be nice to you.  Trust me, being nice will make your life better, guaranteed.

Being nice sometimes takes courage, you may offer to help someone and they might say no, you might invite a new person to something and they might say no, you may be nice to somebody and they may throw it back in your face.  Remember the Peter Gabriel song from the 80’s ‘ Don’t give up, ‘cos you have friends; don’t give up your not beaten yet; Don’t give up, I know you can make it good ... please don’t give up, you’re not the only one’.  Sing this song in your head and keep being nice. 

Michael Kornfeld famously said “If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction”.  It is worth a try isn’t it?  Don’t just leave positive social change to our schools, politicians, media moguls, entrepreneurs or world aid agencies each one of us can set the world in the right direction just by being nice.  Try it, you will feel great and you will not finish last.

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