Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Be Nice, But Not the Nice Guy

“Nice guys finish last”

We’ve all heard this age-old aphorism and more often than not, we find that it’s commonly true. It seems so unfair. Why should “Nice Guys” be punished for being good members of society?

Welp, I hate to break it to you, but the statement IS true. Nice Guys do indeed finish last.

But why?

Well lets see…what is a “nice guy” anyways? Well aside from being friendly, I think we can safely assign some other characteristics that are pretty common among nice guys. Nice guys:

  • Usually look out for the interest of others first
  • Don’t step on others toes
  • Avoid Conflict
  • Shy away from causing unrest

That’s just the beginning of myriad of characteristics we could name, but let’s just go with these to make it simple.

So why do these characteristics lead to a lack of success? Basically, all of these qualities lead to a lack of initiative. In order to take initiative, you need to be unafraid of a little conflict. That’s not to say you should start conflict, but you need to be unafraid of a little social discomfort.

But let’s look at some real world examples. Usually we always think about Nice Guys never getting the girl. All girls say they want to end up with a nice guy, but that’s actually untrue.

Girls see nice guys as boring and uninteresting. Sorry to break it to you, but it’s true. What they really want is a guy who is respectful and honest, but is not afraid to test and challenge them. While a nice guy may put a girl on a pedestal, a “non-nice guy” treats her as a partner in crime.

I am NOT a “nice guy.”

I am extremely friendly and get along with everyone but I have a mischievous streak. I’m obviously good-natured and people seem to appreciate my teasing. I love talking about anything and everything including topics which most people would be afraid to touch.

Women respond to emotional arousal. A nice guy doesn’t generate this. He’s simply too nice. A Bad-ass does, but usually girls tire of “bad-assness” after a while. You stimulate emotional arousal by being interesting, conversationally free, confident, and challenging. These are qualities that nice-guys generally lack because they are too concerned with preserving status-quo comfort levels.

The opposite of Love is not Hate. It’s indifference. And indifference is a common feeling surrounding nice-guy interactions.

The only way to BUILD comfort though is by actively exhibiting the aforementioned qualities. With girls, this is the difference between being just another friend, or someone they are romantically interested in. With other guys, this is the difference between being a just another friend, or someone that we actively want to hang out with and invite out. Where a nice guy doesn’t really change the group dynamic,

The misconception is that the only way to move up in the world is to be a douche-bag and not care about anyone else.

Not true at all.

You can still be nice, respectful, and caring, but in order to move up, you need to be unafraid of situations in which emotional reactions may result. That includes challenging others, and standing up for your ideas. By not being overly agreeable, you earn respect, especially when you defend your thoughts with poise, humor, and good-naturedness.

Coincidentally, this is also a major factor in being Charming. My Specialty ;)

It’s true, nice people can finish first…just don’t be the nice guy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Dreaded Line

Lines (queues) are an interesting beast. I say “beast” because they are pretty much universally hated.

Think about it…have you ever actually enjoyed waiting in line?

“Oh look! There’s six people with loaded carts ahead of me in line! YES!”

“Hey! This line only has one person, so we should probably switch to the one over there with three.”

“I’ve got a great idea! Why don’t I wait in this line and you in the one over there, and whoever gets to the front first and switch to the line of whomever is still waiting!”

I think you get the point….we don’t like lines.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Six Flags Magic Mountain Theme Park. When we got in line, the security guy told us the wait was three hours. THREE FLIPPING HOURS! To boot, the guy in front of us was smoking like a chimney.

Oh Joy. A three hour wait in line is all I need to have the lungs of a 10 year smoker and clothes that smell like a chimney.

After some discussion, we ejected and decided to buy the “Fast Pass” Upgrades. $100 later, I was waiting only 20 minutes for each ride, and getting to ride everything TWICE in a row! (literally, the roller coaster would come back to the station, the restraints would come up, and we’d pull em’ right back down as the twelve year olds next in line gave us murderous looks for being able to stay on).

Grocery store lines are another animal though. There’s an ultra fast calculation that most of us do when picking a line. This calculation factors in such things as: amount of people, amount of groceries (taking into account produce takes longer to ring up than normal store items), age of shoppers (are they young and spry or old and slow?), likelihood of tobacco purchase (since they have to go to that special case to get the tobacco) etc.

Things get really thrown off though when someone decides to pull out the ol’ checkbook. You’re paying with a CHECK!?! Really? REALLY? Pulling out a checkbook at the grocery store line is like rear ending someone on the freeway and causing traffic to back up.

Not only does Checky McCheckerson have to fill out the stupid check, but he has to record the expense in that log in the back of the checkbook (which I don’t understand since you have on-hand a carbon copy of every check you write). Then, the clerk has to run the check through that weird receipt machine. THEN, they have to open the drawer, take the entire change holder out, and stick the check underneath.

Good. Lord.

Checks should be eradicated. They’re incredibly primitive and cumbersome to use. God invented credit/debit cards for a reason people! The only time I use a check these days is to pay rent. Even this could be avoided if the landlord had a paypal account.

Most of the time, I go for the self-checkout. But even this can cause problems. Most people are incredibly slow with the self-checkout. They get confused with produce. Then they panic and need the clerk to walk them through. Meanwhile the guy at the next checkout needs the clerk to approve his alcohol purchase, but since she’s too busy helping grandma ring up her club soda, the whole damn thing gets backed up.

But even this is a cake walk compared to return lines. I rarely ever return anything because the process of returning is so painful. Somehow, the process is at least twice as long as purchasing. And the longer someone takes at the front, the more you start to hate them.

Last year, I had to go to Costco to return something. At the front of this line, their was a lady returning Bananas.

Who returns Bananas? When you buy produce, especially something like bananas, you should be aware that they have a shelf life. And it’s not like bananas are some big mystery as to the state of their ripeness. There’s no pressing of the skin, smelling, thumping it with your fist.

If it’s green, it’s not ripe. If it’s brown it’s too ripe. And If it’s yellow….surprise of the century, I know….it’s ripe!

It baffles me how people spend hours in line on Black Friday (for you internationals, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving on which every store has crazy sales and discounts). Last year, driving home after Thanksgiving dinner, I saw a huge line outside of Best Buy. People even had tents!

It's interesting how little people value their time and will waste it for meager discounts.

Last year, Baskin Robbins had this 25 cent scoop day. I was going to stop by, but when I got there, the line was around the block.

Really? People are waiting 30 or 40 minutes just to pay 75 cents for 3 scoops of ice cream thats normally $4. Yes, that's a whopping $3.25 in savings.

Sometimes, it’s just easier just shopping online ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Self Awareness

Self Awareness is an essential characteristic one must have to be a successful long-term leader

My Leadership professor emphasized this phrase, and when I first heard it, I didn’t really consider it as all too important.

“Yea Ok Professor…I am self aware that I am AWESOME!”

Ok I didn’t actually say that, but the thought did cross my mind.

Actually we discussed this topic more, and the further we delved, the more I realized that self-awareness is not only requisite to be a great leader, but also to simply live life awesomely.

Self awareness is basically being able to objectively and accurately identify your strengths and weaknesses. It’s also being able to accept character traits that maybe other people have identified that have gone undetected on your personal radar.

Take me for example:

I know I LOVE food. I also know that when it’s immediately available, I have little self-control. I’ve identified this “weakness” and in order to compensate for it, I NEVER buy unhealthy groceries. Seriously, if I buy a half gallon of ice cream, it’s gone in two days. In fact, I can never understand how people buy things like ice cream or potato chips and let them sit around for weeks. As soon as I buy ice cream, it begins to call for me and I have no will to resist it’s beckoning.

Suffice it to say, the only food that I allow to call for me by having in my kitchen, is healthy stuff.

I also know that I have a tendency to take on a lot of different activities and projects. BUT, as a result, I rarely master any one thing completely. As much as I’d like to be a renaissance man, I’m probably more of a Jack-of-all-trades.

Having identified this though, I’ve also realized that I derive a lot of pleasure from the variety of my involvement. I also like being good at a lot of things and, for me, am happier being good at many things than a master at one. This probably stems from my extreme competitiveness.

In fact, competitiveness is another self-trait I’ve identified. It seriously kills me to lose. I hate it. That being said, I am aware that I have this trait and can thus control myself when I’m losing (yes, I’ll admit it…I’ve actually lost at stuff before). I’ve actually won a couple of sportsmanship awards before (the award they give ONLY to losers when they lose gracefully).

Believe you me, I’d much rather win, but it does feel good knowing that despite a sub par performance, I can be amiable, easy-going, and well-liked.

Being honest with yourself, and identifying your strengths and ESPECIALLY your derailers is essential in becoming successful. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses, and if you do, at least be able to identify that you’re making an excuse so that you are fully aware of what you are doing.

Sure I buy junk food sometimes. But I’m well aware of what I’m doing and willingly accept the consequences (then workout twice as hard the next day).

Make an honest list, and start thinking about it! Good Luck ;)