Staying Positive

Staying Positive 16 Comments 

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Being Nice Makes Good Business Sense

By Dec 04,2014 Follow Me on Google+

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Summary
In this article Harrison discusses how being nice is the smartest thing you can possibly do in your career. When you are nice to people, you invite them to be nice in return. When you send out negative energy, it comes right back to you. So also when you send out positive energy, it comes back to you as well. When positive energy comes to us, we feel better and the world is a better place to us. When you are nice to others you send out the sort of energy which gets you ahead. So we need to be focused on putting out positive energy. Let the negative energy of others flow right through you and be nice in response. Companies need people who are nice. Being nice to others is the most important thing you can do in your job.

Several years ago I was getting ready to interview with a law firm in New York. It was my first interview ever as a law student and I was pretty nervous. I was trying to get on an elevator as the door was closing and I saw a woman rushing toward it. I reached quickly for the button to open the elevator and was able to get the door to reopen at the last second. The woman got on and told me which floor to push, and I did this for her as well. The woman was very heavy and was not particularly well dressed. We were going to a very high floor and there were several stops along the way.

At one of the stops, I started looking over my hair because I could see my reflection in the glass in the elevator. I looked up and saw the woman looking directly at me, and she smirked as if to say I looked ridiculous primping in the elevator.

At that point in my life I lifted weights frequently and spent a lot of time at the gym. I taught myself it was important to stick up for myself at all costs. Normally, what I would have done was turn around and tell the woman to mind her own business. On that occasion, however, my nervousness must have gotten the best of me. I turned around and looked directly at the woman.

”Do I look okay? I am going to an interview and I am a little nervous. I want to do a good job.”

The woman looked absolutely stunned. The way she looked at me had invited me to strike out and attack. Instead, I had done the opposite.

What

 job title, keywords

Where

 city, state, zip



”Yes, you do. Just pull your tie up a little. I am sure you’ll do fine.”

This woman ended up being in charge of the hiring committee at the law firm. She was reputed to be extremely difficult as an interviewer and did not like anyone. In my interview, she was very nice to me. I ended up getting the job at the firm and working in this same law firm over the summer. The woman was nice to me during the summer as well and stood up for me. In fact, she was one of the nicest people in the law firm I can remember.

There is really something to being nice. When you are nice to people, you invite them to be nice in return. However, most often we are less interested in being nice than we are in being thought of as important, powerful, or right.

Given the incredible number of experiences I have had over and over again in my life, I am confident there are various forms of energy we simply do not understand. I firmly believe when you send out negative energy, it comes right back to you. I also believe when you send out positive energy, it comes back to you as well.

One of my favorite books of all time is The Richest Man in Babylon. One of the rules in this book is that when you make money you are supposed to give away 10 percent of it to charity or some other good cause. The idea is when you give away 10 percent of your income, you will realize how much abundance there is and you will become less attached to money.

While the book makes this point, and I believe there is truth to it, there is another important point about giving away money as well. When you help and give to others you create positive energy that is directed back at you. There is nothing more important than having positive energy directed back at you. The more positive energy you have directed at you, the better your life and everything in it is going to be.

The word ”appreciation” is, to me, one of the more interesting words in the English language. What appreciation means essentially is positive energy directed toward something. For example, when a stock appreciates it means people are excited about it and its value rises. When you are appreciated it means people like you and the value you bring them. Anything that appreciates takes on more value than it originally had. Things typically take on more value when others are excited about them for one reason or another.

You want to be appreciated. You need to be appreciated. Being appreciated means others are seeing and recognizing your value. When people see your value, you get more opportunities and your career and your life can only improve.

Think about things you appreciate in your life and the people who appreciate you. You appreciate these people and things because of how they make you feel. When we are babies, the only things we think about are our needs and taking care of those needs, specifically our need for food and comfort. We do not yet have the capacity to appreciate the needs of others. As we grow older we learn how our actions affect others positively or negatively. We learn we can make others happy or sad. We begin to learn how our ability to make others happy has an effect on our own happiness.

The world exists as exchanges of energy. If negative energy goes out then negative energy comes back. If someone robs a liquor store, the police come after the person and incarcerate him or her. If someone makes a large financial donation to a good cause, the newspapers write about this person’s generosity for all to know. There is a constant interplay between positive and negative energy in the world, and you want to be on the receiving end of positive energy. This is really the only decent place to be. When positive energy comes to us, we feel better and the world is a better place to us. This simple rule is so easy to follow.

We exist in a consumer-driven society where so many of our desires are shaped by things outside of us. For example, many people evaluate their happiness based on their material possessions. People strive to earn the money to purchase the best house and car they can. They want nice furniture and watches. They want to travel to the best places. Many people evaluate their own self-worth based on their ability to accumulate these possessions. This is the way of the Western world. What this sort of consumer culture does, however, is focus almost exclusively on the act of accumulating various things. It does not emphasize the act of putting out positive energy and instead bases everything on taking in energy. This constant taking in often violates laws of the universe, which demand equal exchanges between opposite forms of energy. Instead of being focused on taking things in, we need to be focused on putting out positive energy.

This brings me back to the act of being nice. Several years ago, I was listening to Deepak Chopra speak and he was making a similar point. He said whenever he visits someone’s home, he always brings them a flower. In bringing people a flower, he is trying to set up a dynamic of being nice and sending out positive energy. Sending out positive energy is something that comes back to you every single time.

There is a best-selling career book called Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office. The message of this book is if you worry about offending others, are forthright when explaining information, and make sure your decisions are popular, you will never get ahead. The idea behind the book is that in being nice to others you will not be successful. I believe the opposite is true. When you are nice to others you send out the sort of energy that gets you ahead.

Some years ago I was at a seminar and met a woman who had been a partner at a large and important law firm, but had quit after a year. She was now a real estate agent and I got the sense she was struggling a little. She told me about how she had been working with the law firm and did not become partner until she demanded it and turned mean. She told me people had walked all over her in her job until she became mean. When I asked her to give me some examples, she did not have any. She simply said they did not make her partner.

I think the woman ended up getting fired from her job within a year of making partner. She had worked for the firm for almost 10 years, and within a year of deciding the best thing for her to do was to become ”a bitch,” she had lost her job. Being mean simply does not work.

I have seen this happen in my own life and with people who have worked for me as well. Recently, I had someone working for me who was extremely competent in all respects. The person was working very close with me and I was extremely impressed. For some reason, however, this person could not get along with others outside my office. One day, she called and screamed at a coworker for no apparent reason. She also refused to follow instructions. Somehow, she’d come to believe it was good to be mean to others, to attack others savagely, and to not follow orders. The person was quickly let go despite her competence in other areas.

Who knows how this person rationalized losing her job to herself. If she had just been nice to others she would still be happily employed. Instead, this person ended up losing her job and poisoning the people around her. When someone sends out negative energy, it does a lot of damage.

You need to be nice to others. This is the most important thing you can do in your job. Let the negative energy of others flow right through you and be nice in response. The way to get ahead is to be liked, not feared and hated.

We want to work with people who are nice. Companies need people who are nice. It is important to be nice. I want to be very clear that by being nice I am not talking about being a doormat. When you are nice and place the needs of others on the same level as your own, you are simply being smart. Being nice is the smartest thing you can possibly do in your career.

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  • K. Nagesh

    Largely agree. However, we need to be nice yet hold others accountable. I don’t believe that the two are orthogonal either.

    Thanks for your articles.

    Nagesh

  • John

    Great piece here, Harrison.
    I have always found that being positive and encouraging with people in a genuine and non-patronizing manner is always a good thing to do.
    We choose our actions and our reactions. Always.
    And you can be frank with people without being disrespectful and belittling. It’s all in how you choose to talk and behave. Choose positive. You’ll be better for doing it on so many levels.

  • shoumen

    Harrison Barnes did not gain this reputation overnight. He has worked for it tirelessly for years. In the process he has also benefited himself and tens of thousands of job seekers spread all across the globe. This website is giving the people advice. A website is advice is law related jobs. He walks his talk and has promoted many job search sites which are very effective and have gained leading position all over the world.

  • bristy

    Great piece here, Harrison.
    I have always found that being positive and encouraging with people in a genuine and non-patronizing manner is always a good thing to do.
    We choose our actions and our reactions. Always.
    And you can be frank with people without being disrespectful and belittling. It’s all in how you choose to talk and behave. Choose positive. You’ll be better for doing it on so many levels.

    • Harrison Barnes

      Bristy,

      If there is anything I regret in my life it is not always being positive with people. In business it often seems necessary to take an aggressive sort of stance on issues–and in the process you can end up being a real “asshole”. I think your observations are “right on” about being positive are dead on. When you are frank and respectful of people it makes everyone much happier in the long run. There is nothing worse than alienating someone for the long term.

      –Harrison

  • forhad hossain

    Hi Mr Harrison,I like this article. Its a good article. I have always found that being positive and encouraging with people in a genuine and non-patronizing manner is always a good thing to do.Choose positive. You’ll be better for doing it on so many levels.It will helps a lot. Thanx for this post.

  • orlando

    The first part of the story would never hold up under cross examination because he assumes too much about the woman and that ain’t nice.

  • Linda

    I found the article on being nice to be not only true but a basic tenet of life. I practice matrimonial law and I often feel pushed around and abused because I want to talk to the “other side” and see what I can negotiate for my clients instead of litigating in court where no one really wins. I just lost a client because she felt I was not enough of a bully but after a few lost hours of sleep I decided she was better off with someone else and so was I. Being nice, thoughtful, and listening comes back to you over and over again, while it cannot be proven it is a fact and what you send out you get in return. Keep up the positive motivation-I so often need to read something like this.

  • Sarah

    Yes, I agree we should be nice. I was nice, and I naively expected everyone else to be nice. Unfortunately, others were jealous. They were watching me like a hawk, looking for any possible opportunity to discredit me. I sat there quietly and continued working hard, but it wasn’t enough to get promoted. As Harrison has stated many times, the more successful you are, the more people try to knock you off of your horse. I also like Harrison’s article about “Making yourself known,” and had I spent more time doing this I would have been less vulnerable to malicious gossip. Harrison should sell a course (or counseling service) on how to be nice without being walked all over, how to fight false accusations (orally and in writing), and how to promote yourself in a toxic environment with jealous and competitive coworkers. I had some jealous bosses who gave me mediocre evaluations, when I knew I deserved better. I felt they were scared that I might take their jobs. I wish I had documented my accomplishments more carefully and knew how to state them in writing to be able to refute the mediocre evaluations. I wish there was a writing service that helps people do this.

  • Jennifer Halphen

    I have really enjoyed your advice, personal stories and philosophies. I feel a sense of hope in reading them. Being in the business world for over 20 years and now making what I did 20 years ago, can be underwhelming and stressful while wanting to look for a job that pays more and not getting what I want when I want it. One becomes bitter. Thank you for your freshness, real idealism and perspective. I have felt like I’m a door mat, but, I guess being nice does pay off…eventually. I look forward to your stories. Thanks again. One becomes disheartened and negative so easily these days. We need hope, support and purpose in our lives to carry on in the best way possible!

    • stacey

      This is a great post! it was very informative. I look forward to reading your work. In addition, I made sure to bookmark your site so I can come back later. I enjoyed every moment of his reading.

  • Kendra

    Well it depends some people do take being nice as a form of weakness. I for one do not. Im a nice person and I am hardworker. Im currently pursuing my Master’s degree and I have noticed throughout my work exeperience some people respect my niceness and others do not.

  • Kathy

    Yes I subscribed to Hound for 2 months – no response from any one – took a major effort to unsubscribe as it’s buried and a phone call no less – I still get emails from Hound even though Harrison advertises that he won’t send email again – interesting contradictions!! Not worth all of his hype …

  • lisa

    WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..more wait .. ?There are certainly a number of particulars like that to take into consideration. That may be a nice point to carry up. I supply the thoughts above as common inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you convey up the place an important factor will be working in sincere good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged round things like that, however I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a good game. Each girls and boys feel the affect of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  • Thanks for sharing your brilliant ideas. I will be sharing your post to our new team of web designers.

  • Anonymous

    Good article, I like you mention of Google and Twitter. I feel many people look down upon using social media as marketing and promotion tool but they actually work very well.

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