Nice Guys Finish Last. But What’s the Hurry?

Updated March 1st, 2019

Many years ago I was sitting on the couch with my girlfriend at the time, hearing her yell at me about something I don’t even remember.  I was just looking at the wall pretending to pay attention when she immediately got wind of my daydreaming and said “yada yada your mother…yada yada yada….Sanjay WHAT DID I JUST SAY?!?”

“Ummm, you were talking about my mom and err…..Look, I’m a nice guy.  A good person.  I can’t fight over this.’

“Excuse me? Fight over what?”

“Well, to be honest…nothing.”

couple-ride-on-bike-usha-shantharam
Funny, but dangerous.

Are You a Nice Guy?

As self-serving as that statement may sound (and trust me, I know it sounds horrible), I’m proud to admit that I’m a nice guy.  

I don’t mean nice in a I’m better than you sort of way.  

I mean I’m nice like…I’m relaxed.  Low maintenance.  Easy going.   And more often than not, even in those moments when you’re supposed to be selfish, like asking for a raise or getting the upper hand in business, success or romance with women (or men), I honestly don’t give a fu*k.

Does the World Care About Nice People?

We live in a world that appreciates people who are selfish.  Trust me, I know.  So do you. You’ve seen it and you’ve lived it.  

Even the origin of the phrase “Nice Guys Finish Last” was meant to promote a victory in sports rivalries, which surprise surprise was based in New York. *cough wolf of Wallstreet cough*

When you answer that girl’s SMS/Whatsapp/Snapchat the second you see it, she thinks you’re desperate.  When you hold off or actually get busy and don’t give a shit, you’re rewarded by becoming the predator from the prey.  

The reward system of life encourages us to be selfish in many places, contrary to popular opinion.  Every business uses terms like being cutthroat, being cocky, being aggressive and PLAY TO WIN.

All of us know this.  

All of us take part in it.  

Each of us is competitive with the other in these little social ecosystems we’ve all built for ourselves.  

I’m guilty of it, and I’m only now recognizing it.  

I used to think if this person did well in comedy or got a better show or a better video, it meant I wouldn’t.  If my buddy pulled the most amazing girl at work, I was pretty much out of luck.  We get so caught up in our little worlds and think that life is a zero-sum game (e.g. If I got the BMW, that means you won’t).  It’s easy to think that way, but I’m here to tell you that when you step out of your bubble and look from the outside in, it’s far from reality.  When you write “Happy Birthday” on someone’s Facebook and they don’t reciprocate back, you know who cares about that little battle you just think you lost?

NOBODY.  

So rather than trying to climb over everyone to hit the top of your mountain (and stress yourself out along the way)…maybe, just maybe…it’s time to embrace life as a nice guy.  

Not necessarily because being nice is what your teacher told you.  But because being selfish is honestly too much work.

Nice Guys Finish Last Whats the Hurry
Some guys just can’t look mean.

If you’re the guy (or girl) who is always putting your friends or loved ones before yourself and didn’t expect them to return the favor, your life might actually become easier when you help others without expectation.  

You won’t sit around waiting for karma (who is never on time by the way), you won’t keep a mental record of every good deed you did and to be honest, you’ll probably be a lot happier with your place in life given the new equation.  

Being nice with expectations isn’t really being nice at all.

It’s a false notion of patting yourself on the back because you’re secretly waiting to be rewarded down the line, and you’re going to stress yourself out when it doesn’t happen.  

Nice guys finish last.  

Assholes finish first.  

But it’s easier to be yourself than trying to pretend to be the badass you think you need to be.

I’ll happily answer your text because 90% of the time, my phone is next to me.  Setting an alarm to reply back to you in two hours or two days, is honestly just not worth it.

How’s that for some relationships psychology?

Conclusion

Read Next: Why You’re Still Single

Read Next: Who Enables You To Be Mediocre?

If you read this whole thing and need to hear it again with an American accent.

Nice guys do finish last, but maybe that’s the point. I’d rather reach the top of the mountain with my friends (even if they go there first) rather than go at it alone, wondering where the hell everybody is.  

Secondly, nice guys do finish last…but they do eventually finish.   

And I guess in some areas in life (dirty joke intended), finishing last might not be a bad thing.

Sanjay Manaktala is one of the top stand up comedians in India who started building the comedy community in the country back in 2010. Since then his stand up comedy videos and podcasts have helped millions laugh or get motivated. His latest effort is the Birdy Num Num podcast, helping you learn creativity in life after engineering. You can learn about Sanjay here or check out his YouTube channel here.

 

72 Comments

  1. This is extremely wonderful! Especially the part about replying instantly without caring about seeming desperate, instead of being extremely selfish and making the other person wait so long!

      1. Absolutely. Like we already don’t have enough on our to-do. Why pile it up with more? Fantastic read. Very honest.

  2. Thank’s a lot for this, Sanjay. I too feel caught up with the whole ‘Why isn’t Karma catching up to me, and helping me out’, I guess I need to start being nicer a little more and take a step back, do stuff because I want to, instead of wanting repayment. I’m rambling. 🙂
    Good read!

  3. Written very well. I love the line “It is easier to be yourself than trying to pretend to be the bad-ass you think you need to be” How much time, energy could be saved and stress avoided if this wisdom is internalized. Love it

  4. You always post something relevant to what I’m going through in life; timing is perfect just like your comic timing! Thank bro!

  5. Being nice with expectation isn’t really being nice at all – Just Awesome.

    Thanks Mahn ! 🙂

  6. This is the best best post I have seen and its damn inspiring, cause well I’m 19yrs old. And thanks for it.

  7. WOW .. sanjay what a write up .Well, I have been thinking about it too for wuite a long time and also trying hard. I really need to say that many times I stayed unhappy because I have tried to be the “nice one” and when I did not see anythig coming in returs on my way after a while ( when karma did not work ) I complained . ususally it goes like YADA YADA i did this .. i did that .. and you dont give a F**# I am not an angel etc . But how to be nice without expecting anything in Return ??? at least for me it is quite hard …

    1. It’s hard for anybody – but we have to learn to live with it and free ourselves up from expectation. The only one you should expect greatness from in return is looking at you in the mirror.

  8. I read somewhere – “Nice guys finish last. But they are the ones worth waiting for”. Excellent thoughts Sanjay and very well written article as well.

  9. Hi Sanjay, I so very relate to your post. The expectations are there, still one tends to pretend otherwise. That’s what stresses you out.

  10. Thank you for this. So tired of having men around behaving like that. Glad to know there’s a kind I’d relate to 🙂 I thought there never would be! *heaves a sigh of relief* the world s a nice place. Need more nice people,who aren’t pretending, aren’t playing “games”. I don’t know how to do that, so always get messed up in the process. It’s stupid and silly, I’m glad to hear there’s someone else who thinks so too 🙂

  11. Well I have realized that, things dun come just like that, everything falls in place just at the right time. But with that ambition must not die, one has to be with it.

  12. Good one ! “. even in those moments when you’re supposed to be selfish, like asking for a raise or getting the upper hand in business or romance, I honestly don’t give a fu*k.” —-> I thought I am the only one !!!

  13. “Being nice with expectation isn’t really being nice at all”…..so true Sanjay. Thank you so much …. Just what I needed. Love all your works. Keep up the good work.

  14. Nice write up. I know personally that you do respond almost immediately to a comment or reply or tweet. Keep it coming.

  15. I walk to the bus stop after work , thinking –what am I taking back home today? A fancy salary-No!(not yet!) What all could I have done to avoid the walking, the buses… and I could instantly taste some regret.
    While I dragged myself , I saw three children on the other side of the road- one walking on little stones, the other two lying on the mud staring into the void.
    Was my condition any better or worse than them?! The answer was obvious.. Which now gets me to the point- who I compare myself with governs how I end up feeling about myself! Realizing but not internalizing this fact here I am writing this comment! I hope I get to a point where I do!

    Cheers!!

    1. the grass is always greener on the other side, unless you’re color blind =P I’m glad you appreciated, i have those same thoughts whenever I start whining. Btw – i did a video on my youTube called don’t compare – i guess you already know it – but if google it if you want to see great minds think alike.

  16. I really like when you say ” like asking for a raise or getting the upper hand in business or romance, I honestly don’t give a fu*k.”
    we all get caught up in proving to the world that we are better than others…may be that needs to stop and live a honest life

  17. you make me smile….well most of the times 🙂

    I love this quote… Nice guys may appear to finish last, but usually they are running a different race.

  18. As I scrolled up I wondered why would you reply to almost every comment – often tagged jobless. But NOW after reading ur article it all makes sense – WHY NOT and so wat I reply to the comments? The article is just want I needed right now – I will just be nice without expectations – its easier to lead a life that way 🙂 Thank you so much for this <3

    1. When you stop acting too cool is when you actually become too cool…it’s ironic, I have all the free time but a blog about being modest made me busy and seem the opposite. Life is funny 😛 You’re very welcome!

  19. Amazing man! I always feel that just because I’m so nice to everyone, it an disadvantage? Because as you said assholes finish first I feel that people tends to be attracted to them even though deep down they know he is not a nice guy/girl. Even tried to be badass but my will don’t allow it and I’m nice to everyone naturally, no extra input required but being badass is like constantly analysing that is it the badass thing? Am I going with standard and at last fail so I have decided to be myself and better not pressure on my mind. And replying instantly is like my duty I can’t pretend to be busy because I’m not

  20. Wow! That was a BEAUTIFUL message. I was too late to find this.
    At times intricate thoughts just turn out to be very simple yet powerful.
    Loved it @Sanjay

  21. Hi Sanjay not able to read few blogs like the below. It would be helpful if can fix it.

    1.#SANJAYPOETRY: MEH
    2.HOW DO I GET MORE STAGE TIME?

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