Being nice may be a really bad thing and it is not what you think
A while back I attended a fabulous event where my friend and mentor Dr Roger Hall was piping up saying that Canadians are nice people, but being nice would be a bad thing. The moment I heard this come out of his mouth he had my and everybody else’s attention. Huh? How can being nice be a bad thing? He then cited that he had once seen a TV interview with an older German lady who supposedly had been Hitler’s housekeeper. She said that Adolf had been her greatest boss and overall had been a very “nice” man. Oh boy.
Here is the main issue with being “nice”: Being nice is a great cover up how you really feel. It is nothing but a cover up over your real self. It is a protection mechanism. It is far from being authentic. It is outright selfish and clearly only serves one purpose: self-preservation. Where is the real you in this? Being nice is nothing more than trying to make it through a conversation or any other form of human interaction quickly and without having to make commitments.
Dr Hall asserted that he preferred to be loving over nice. What does that mean and what is the difference? Being loving means you are authentic to be empathetic and compassionate. Being loving means having to be determined helping the other person with candor. She/ he may not like what you have got to say, or perhaps may not even like you as a person. Ultimately, you make loving the other person still the one and only priority. It is not an invitation to be nasty or hurtful. It is all about meeting other people at eye level. It gives them a sense where you are coming from. It creates a centering point from which all future interactions may grow from. Only with such a good solid ground zero start can any of us build meaningful friendships. More than ever is authenticity important in our lives. Authenticity begets trust and predictable outcome. Where else would your sense of your personal true North come from?
Think twice about wanting to be known for being nice. I aspire to leave a legacy for being a loving spouse, father, friend, leader-manager, and your acquaintance. How about you?