Meanies and Niceys.

For a long time there were no ‘goodies and baddies’ at our house, instead there were ‘meanies and niceys’.

It always made me smile when I’d hear someone say “She is the meanie one… and he is the nicey.”

Yesterday I encountered my own meanies and niceys and they all surprised me in their own ways.

plane window

Yesterday I sat in a plane, waiting on the tarmac, and I watched as two passengers turned into ‘meanies’.

Sure, being stuck in a plane isn’t much fun, neither is being late for something important, and perhaps I lead a quiet, sheltered life, but I was aghast to watch these passengers get more and more rude as time went on. I was blown away by the way they let their anger spill out. I was surprised by the language these adults used. And I was shocked at how they aimed their frustration at staff who didn’t cause the problem and who, quiet obviously, could do nothing about it either.

When we finally managed to find a park at the terminal and began to disembark, both these people continued to be rude to both staff and other passengers as they pushed past people to get off the plane.

Apparently they were important, they had important places to go, and they didn’t care what they had to do to get there.

In stark contrast, I also met two ‘Niceys’ yesterday.

Two people who are very accomplished in their respective fields. Two people who have a large amount of influence and power and respect. Two people who were simply, genuinely, nice.

Both of these people could have dismissed little, old, unimportant me with a a quick brush off comment, but neither did. Both took time to really talk with me (once I found the courage to introduce myself), to share a little of themselves and gave me time to share a little of me too.

As I sat in a crowded plane on the way home that afternoon I reflected on the meanies and niceys and I was left feeling overwhelming good.

There will always be ‘meanies’ out there, but it is so refreshing to know that there are also people who are successful, powerful, influential and nice.

It often feels like the only way to the ‘top’ is to walk over other people. You have to claw your way to the top, you have to put yourself first, think of nothing else but your goals. Carefully guard your secrets, don’t give anything away for free, only help someone else if it ultimately helps you. It doesn’t matter what it takes, as long as you are successful.

That is not me.

I like to be useful. It makes me feel good to help people. I am kind of shy and I don’t really always myself ‘out there’ but I always try to be kind, and thoughtful, and nice.

It is so inspiring to find out that I can be myself, I can help people, I can be a ‘nicey’ and still be successful.

In fact I suspect these people are successful because they are niceys.

What do you think?
Can you be a ‘nicey’ and be successful or does that require at least some cut throat ‘meaniness’ in our culture?

{image: by Ed Siasoco via flickr}

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Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:

  1. says

    you can totally be nice AND successful!

    I love the saying “be careful of the toes you step on today, they might be attached to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow”… you just never know who you’re being a meanie to. is it really worth it?!

  2. says

    There’s no bad repercussions if you’re nice to someone as far as I’m concerned. Sure, they may be a meanie and steal your idea or just use you, but it will catch up with them in the end. And yes, I totally think nice people can be successful, and for a sustained time too, unlike meanies who’s stepping on toes catches up with them ;)

  3. says

    I think everyone should try to be niceys more. Its the nice people that others remember, its their deeds and their kindness that really seems to hit home with people and lodge something within their memory. I know I would much rather be remembered for a nicey than a meanie!

  4. says

    One of the nicest people I have ever known was my PhD supervisor. Genuinely kind and concerned both for the people in his lab and the populace at large.

    He won the Nobel Prize for Medicine a few years back. He is ace.

  5. Alissa says

    Niceys can be successful. Honesty, integrity and courteousness are all “nice” things that help to be successful – no matter what you do – from mum to CEO. ;)

  6. says

    On a plane i now sit & watch as people scramble to get their bags down & off the plane because by sitting & waiting until the doors actually open i am not standing in a single small aisle.
    Like the terms Kate, think I’ll pinch them .. Nicely of course. Thanks!

  7. says

    I’m not sure I could actually label anyone as ‘meanies’ and ‘niceys’ – it all depends on what you are doing at the time. I know someone in particular, quite a nice person. Lovely to talk to, very helpful to outsiders or customers. But not someone I actually trust, although I wouldn’t say a meanie. Very good at self-promotion as well so been promoted very quickly. And personally I don’t think good at the job.

    Someone else would have to be a nicey – always kind, lovely. Never a bad word. Which is why someone managed to work for them for 10 years and not know she was doing a very important part of the job wrong – she was never told, and the nicey boss just re-did it. How much of that is genuinely being nice, and how much is not wanting to deal with the unpleasant things that have to be done? Was it really nice to the staff member? Is it nice to the next person to come along who has an enormous mess to clean up because this boss never did it? Or the person working with them who is stuck with the ‘meanie’ jobs they don’t want to do?

    The best person I’ve ever worked for was amazing at what she did. And in a good mood when things were going well she was gorgeous. When she thought you had stuffed up she would publicly tear strips off you and we had lots of staff leave. But I learnt more from her than anyone else I’ve ever met because she was so good and I love her to bits, even if I don’t always agree with her.

    I don’t like an emphasis on what a person is like. I want to know how well they do their job. If part of their job is being nice to people, then its important. But if it isn’t, I’d rather they were the best at that job, not the nicest.

  8. says

    hi Kate – sorry you had a bad experience on the way home. was lovely to meet you on Wednesday. Hope you had a fun day overall. Look me up next time you’re in Sydney.
    cheers Fiona

  9. says

    it’s a small world, it doesn’t pay to be a meanie, it will always come back and bite you. I believe in karma. good thinks come to good people.

  10. Danielle says

    I’ve encountered a meanie lately and your description of how someone makes it to the ” top” could have been written for her. I work as an independent consultant for a direct selling business, we have an upcoming craft fair in my home town and when I approached this lady (who is not from this town) to join in with the promotion of our company I was told no because I wasn’t part of her team. She is only going to promote her team not the good name of our company so that she receives all the financial benefit…I firmly believe in karma and hope she gets her fair dose one day…

  11. says

    I’m glad the nicies outweighed the meanies! and glad you had a good time, it is hard to do things like that when you are shy – good on you :)

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