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Nice guys only finish last if they are in the wrong race.

Anyone who has read my books, attended a seminar or training, or worked with me in the past several years, has heard me say over and over: BE NICE. This is the easiest to follow of my “rules of conduct” for life and business, and it is perhaps the rule that has the quickest and longest lasting effect.

The world is full of rude, self-important, and entitled people. I’m not saying everyone, of course, but there is enough that when someone is nice its noticeable! Being nice is no harder than offering a smile to someone, or holding a door. It’s amazing how quickly people smile back or reflect back in their voice when they are treated with kindness.

Make it a point to be nice and do nice things all the time. In your community, home, and workplace, you want to be known as a genuinely nice person. The only way to become known this way is to be nice all the time to everyone. Whether we like it or not, people form impressions almost instantly and it takes forever to change them. I’ll give you two opposite examples of what I mean. I was in Panera Bread today for a meeting with one of the local Life Plus Million Lives Team. While I was buying my bottle of water at the front counter, a woman comes up to the counter to complain that the spread she had ordered for her bagel was not in the bag.

Whether we like it or not, people form impressions almost instantly and it takes forever to change them.

She did not do this nicely. She spoke rudely and with the sourest of expressions on her face. You would have thought she was personally insulted by this simple mistake. I could not help it. At that moment I looked at this women and thought to myself, “this is not a nice person.” Yes, I am judging her. Yes, I don’t know her circumstances. Yes, she could have a stone in her shoe. Hey, I’m human just like everyone else….it would take me a lot of interaction with this person in a variety of situations for me to think any different. It would have been so easy for her to nicely tell them that they had forgotten her spread.

You never know who is watching and when it might matter.

You can’t be selectively nice. What if I was an employer and saw this occur, and a few days later this woman came into my establishment looking for a job? She could be highly qualified with a wonderful track record, but do you think I would hire her? By the way, this type of thing has happened a few times that I know about over the years.

Now let me give you the other side. And I am happy to say its about me, but I never knew about it until recently. I was on the phone with a man last year, discussing business and he said something to me that really made my day. He was sharing with me that he had a lot of respect for the way I conducted myself in business, because he knew “I practiced what I preached.” Then he proceeded to tell me about an incident that happened over 15 years ago. Apparently I was speaking at a conference in New Jersey and he was an attendee. He shared with me that he saw me helping a woman in a wheelchair get through a door. What left an impression on him, was that there was no one around. The only people who knew I was helping this stranger, was me and her. He just happened by at a distance in the hall and saw this happen.

15 years ago, 30 seconds of being nice, lasting impression. Everyday you have the opportunity to improve other people’s day by simply being nice…and the cool thing is that you are immediately rewarded because it feels good to put a smile on someone’s face, and you are long term rewarded because you will become, over time, known as a nice person. You can go far in life being nice while you are being diligent.


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