Is it true, though?
There are no universal truths. Not all nice guys finish last, but if you want to be one of the exceptions that prove the rule, here are a few habits you’ll want to change:
Be more than just nice. You may be thinking that nice is a rare and valued commodity, or that being nice will endear you to those around you. It’s not, and it won’t. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being nice—if by nice you mean polite, empathetic or patient. Those are great qualities, but they’re just a starting point. The world is full of polite, empathetic, and patient people. If you want your boss to value your contributions, or the object of your affections to find you attractive, you will need to offer much, much more.
Which brings me to my next point:
You are in charge of your destiny. Yes, you are a nice person. Yes, you have intrinsic worth as a human being. I would love to be able to tell you that these two truths were enough for you to get everything you deserve. They are not. If you want something, you will have to commit to a course of action that will get it. No, it won’t be easy. No, it won’t always be fun. But that is your choice. And it is a choice.
Inaction is also a choice—often it’s the easy choice--but the one least likely to give you the life you want.
If you’re left wondering why you were passed over for promotion, or why the person you’re crushing on keeps going out with other people, stop. Stop asking why you weren’t picked. Ask instead, why was the other person chosen? Is there something they bring to the table that you don’t? If so, what can you do to make that true for you as well?
Sometimes the answer to that question is: nothing. I can't magically make myself rich or taller, or have an MBA, but if that's the case, then that wasn't the right person (or position) for you to begin with.
Of course, making that choice doesn’t guarantee success. But if you never ask, how will you ever know?
So what are you waiting for?
Make a move. I get it, rejection sucks. Just the thought of it might be enough to get your heart beating faster or make your palms sweaty. One of the jobs of the human brain is to keep you safe… and it is really good at its job. Unfortunately for us, the brain can’t really tell the difference between physical danger and emotional danger. Your brain will tell you there are grave consequences to what you are about to attempt—but are there? Ask yourself: what will happen if I do this? And then what will happen? And then what? And then what? And then what? Chances are you will still be alive at the end of that chain of events. Chances are, you will be just fine. So are you willing to take that action even though your brain is telling you not to?
With that in mind…
Be direct about your needs and wants. Perhaps you were raised in a home where expressing yourself or asking for anything was punished, or ignored, or where you just felt lost in the shuffle. Somewhere along the line, you got the message that you weren’t worth taking care of and that your needs weren’t going to be met. That didn’t make you stop needing things (as much as you may wish or believe that to be true), but it sure made it difficult to advocate for yourself.
So here you are, quietly waiting for the people in your life to meet needs you never communicate to them. Maybe you’ve subtly hinted about them, or passively suggested them, or even lied and said you didn’t have them—while inwardly knowing that if this person really cared they would see though all of these efforts to obscure. This is a fast-paced walk down the road to resentment and bitterness.
The sad truth is that we train those around us on how to treat us. No one will ever treat you better than you ask them to—directly.
One of the most universally valued traits in an employee or a partner is honesty. Sometimes silence is just as dishonest as a lie.
Make your motivations transparent. If you want to move up in a company, make that explicit. Have a conversation with your boss about what that would take. Seek opportunities to show your skill and dedication so that your value becomes apparent.
If you want to date (or have sex with) someone, you aren’t really being their friend. If you are acting as their shoulder to cry on, or sounding board for complaining about their current partner, while secretly having the motivation of being with them, you aren’t being honest or empathetic. And you aren’t likely to end up with what you really want.
Are you in the friend zone? She didn’t put you there. You did.
Want to change this pattern?
Be vulnerable! This one may not make sense right away, but bear with me. Your brain wants you to be invulnerable, to be completely safe from harm, to never venture into danger. This means never taking risk. Being invulnerable may sound nice, but there are some real consequences. It means not being able to change to meet new challenges or to enter into new and exciting phases of life. It means not being able to lower your guard enough to find intimacy and closeness. Not only does attempting to be invulnerable carry consequences, it is also doomed to failure. No matter how hard you try to never suffer, you cannot escape it—it is a fundamental part of life. In fact, the harder you try to never experience pain, the worse that pain is (and the longer it lasts).
So you might as well embrace its inevitability and make sure that the suffering you experience is just the price of admission for getting the life you want
It is normal to feel anger when you are not being treated the way you would prefer. Anger can be destructive, but it can also be a positive force in your life. Keep reading to find out how to harness your anger to create a more vital and fulfilling life.