Josh Mayer is a nice guy who runs a wonderful advertising agency in New Orleans with his brother Mark. Josh also has a good enough marriage that his younger employees come to him for advice when they’re thinking of getting married. Josh’s advice is simple:
“Don’t marry for money. Money comes and goes.
Don’t marry for looks. Looks can fade.
Don’t marry for sex. Sex gets better and worse (and better again, if you’re lucky).
Don’t even marry for love. Love also ebbs and flows.”
Josh’s advice? “Marry for nice. Nice never goes away.”
You know, I spend a lot of time writing these posts and even more time thinking about what I’m going to write about. I want you to find these posts useful, enjoyable, and valuable. I’d also like them to be profound enough to make a difference to you and maybe even generate some commentary and ongoing discussion.
But Be Nice? Be nice is not something you’ve never heard before. Be nice is not earth shattering. Hell, be nice is not even profound.
But it is true.
Be Nice is the most important thing you can do to make your life better right this minute. Because being nice changes you and it changes the way the people around you react.
Since hearing Josh’s advice I’ve been trying to train myself to be nice. For example, I greet every jogger and dog-walker and bus stop sitter I pass on my morning runs. The folks I run with make fun of me when the people I greet don’t return the greeting but it doesn’t matter. I’m greeting them for myself. Here are five other simple ways to be nice:
Say hello to everyone when you step into an elevator. This can get weird sometimes because most people in elevators are staring at one of three things: the floor, the floor numbers or their phone. Because of this, saying hello to people in elevators is not easy to do but it does work. Your new friends leave the elevator smiling. And you’ll get a little better at it each time.
Leave a few bucks for the housekeeper when you spend the night in a hotel. Look at it this way – you give a buck to the guy behind the bar who hands you a beer and all he has to do is reach into a cooler and grab a cold one. Doesn’t the person who makes your bed and scrubs your toilet deserve at least a few bucks too?
Send thank you notes. Not emails. Not Facebook likes. But nice, genuine handwritten notes scribbled on paper and posted with a real stamp. Your mom taught you to do this and your mom was right.
Remember people’s names and use them when you talk. Okay, I’ll admit this is really hard for me because I have no memory for names. And Brad Pitt can’t do it because he says he suffers from prosopagnosia or face-blindness. Pitt told Esquire Magazine that, “even if he’s had a real conversation with someone, he’ll forget what the person looks like almost as soon as he or she walks away.” Pitt adds that, “so many people hate me because they think I’m disrespecting them.” I don’t know if any of that is true but it is something to work on. And it sure would make Brad Pitt seem a whole lot nicer. Not that I’d actually know.
Hold the door for people. It’s easy and chivalrous and maybe even a little old-fashioned but it’s a nice thing to do. Standing when a woman comes into a room seems to me to be a bit chauvinistic and fuddy-duddyish but holding doors is just downright considerate, especially if you hold them for men and woman.
Maybe that’s the point. Being nice means being considerate of the people you come into contact with and going out of your way to make other people happy and comfortable.
Because when you do that it will make you comfortable too.
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