Being A Nice Guy Isn’t Why You’re Failing
I’m just too nice, that’s why girls don’t like me.
Nice guys don’t succeed in business, and I just care too much.
Women only like assholes, that’s why I can’t find a partner.
Hidden in these statements is a story about the world.
They describe a narrative where the world is mean and treats you badly.
You aren’t succeeding and you’re nice, so you must be too nice to succeed.
When things aren’t going well, we need to find an excuse.
Our brains are very efficient. Because our brains can’t cope with looking at what’s really wrong, they provide the quickest and most easily-accepted explanation.
In this case, it’s: Poor me, I’m just too nice.
Our stories about the world are always useful. They come from past experiences and from the rest of society.
We carry them for good reasons.
Sometimes, stories provide us with an easy explanation for why we aren’t succeeding in the way we thought we could be.
Often, what they’re really doing is protecting us from looking more deeply at ourselves.
The trouble with our stories is not whether they’re true or not. Most of our stories about ourselves can be true and false at the same time.
For example, both “I am a nice person” and “I am not a nice person” can be true at the same time.
Can you find evidence for all the ways you are a nice person? Can you find evidence for all the ways you have not been a nice person?
Our narratives depend on the evidence we look for.
The real trouble with our stories is that they often hold us back from getting what we want in life.
They prevent us from having successful businesses, fulfilling relationships, or epic orgasms. They prevent us from having busy social lives, writing books, or traveling the world.
They think they’re protecting us, and while they’re doing that, they’re preventing us from getting what we desire.
The biggest questions we have to ask ourselves about our stories are these:
- What would it mean about me if this were true?
2. What would it mean about me if this weren’t true?
Let’s do this for the example in this piece:
- What would it mean about me if I wasn’t succeeding because I was a nice guy?
Well, it would mean that I’m super nice, which is a great quality in a person, and it would mean that I don’t get to succeed.
2. What would it mean about me if being nice wasn’t the reason I’m not succeeding?
Well, then I’d have to look for all the other reasons I’m not succeeding. I’d have to wonder if all of my qualities make me a good partner, if I’m interesting enough and self-aware enough to have a healthy relationship. I might have to look at my childhood or my trauma and feel any of the emotions I’ve been suppressing. I might have to examine my business and see if it’s providing value, and see if I’m pouring my true self into my business. I might have to fire people or hire them. Things in my life might change, and I might have to feel bad things. I might have to do a lot of work!
Which of these seem like the option that would most likely bring you success?
It’s not just men, either, and it’s not only this situation.
I can’t start my own business, because I don’t have money.
I can’t exercise, because I’m just not a gym person.
I’m too pretty, that’s why other women don’t like me.
Men just want to fuck, that’s why I can’t find someone to date me.
Sound familiar? We all have them.
Our stories about the world often prevent us from looking more deeply at ourselves.
Sometimes, a story might actually be true.
For example, it’s true that women are oppressed in society. We receive less pay and our uteruses are under government control.
Is it beneficial for me to walk around all day thinking about how oppressed I am? Maybe sometimes, if I’m in the mood to take action or understand why someone treated me badly. But usually, probably not.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to our stories.
The answer is always: is this story working for me or against me?
Self-examination is the key.