Nice Guys Finish Last (and first)


Last at work but first at home. I bet that you’ve never heard your therapist tell you that you should have two different personalities, have you? Well they should. If you aren’t able to be one person inside the workplace and a different person at home, then chances are that you are bad at one, if not both of them. Do you think that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, and Mike Tyson were the same person on the field as they were at home? Well maybe Tyson, but that’s why he wasn’t good at home. Most of you are nice guys inside the workplace and it actually leads to a lesser ‘you’ in your home life. If you achieve more at work then you can achieve more at home. Let me explain why the Derek Jeter you saw on the field was a completely different person from the Derek Jeter on the field, and that’s what really made him great.

Let’s first look at the majority of us, nice guys. Sorry, but you guys finish last in the workplace. First at home though! But believe it or not, if you learn how to change your personality for the workplace, it will actually benefit you at home! Personally, I like keeping you guys as the majority of the population though because you are easy to beat at work, so here’s your advice… I’m trying to think of a sports figure to use as an example but I can’t even think of one… Alex Smith? It’s probably because there aren’t any good sports examples of nice guys on the field because they DON’T WIN.

All of you wonderful fathers are examples of how it works at home so I won’t even dive into that discussion. So do this… think of every great sports figure and then think of their greatest moment. It was INTENSE. Intensity and a passion to win beat the nice guy on the field and it beats them in the office. If you aren’t capable of changing your demeanor, internally, to be competitive in the workplace, then the people who are capable of that will always best you to that promotion. And they certainly always beat you on the field. Nice guys finish last at work.

Now let’s talk about the minority, those of you who aren’t able to turn off your intensity when you get home from work. Stop all of the competing when you get home! Although you are winning at work, you suck at home. You are kind of mean to your wife and kids and you write it off as being stressed out, I know I know. Well that’s a lame excuse! So you are telling me that you aren’t capable of compartmentalizing work life from home life? Actually yes you can, so don’t start feeding me that, you just don’t feel like it. Well you better start feeling like it or your home life won’t last!

The list of sports figures that fit this example is endless. Football players and boxers who can’t turn off the intensity, Tyson (again), Lawrence Taylor, Aaron Hernandez, and pretty much any athlete that ended up in jail was a result of not being able to separate work from home. This is also probably all of you successful sales and businessmen who can’t seem to figure out how to get along with your family. That’s because you haven’t figured out his to be two people. Let’s be honest, no one likes a softy at work and no one likes an ‘a-hole’ at home. Which leads me into the ideal, compartmentalized, human being… of course I’m talking about myself. Not really..

Now I will conclude with the ideal person, which is actually two different people. You now have the capability of being an intense competitor at work and a fun loving person at home. An internally, intense and competitive personality at work will lead to you getting promoted (read my article ‘Go Get Promoted’) and making more money at work, which can only enhance your home life. You know the old saying; don’t mix business with your personal life? Now maybe you can start to understand why that makes sense. Stop going to work to make friends and start going to work to beat those people at what you do. It may result in some people not liking you at work, but they will respect you. And respect is worth more than someone who likes you but lacks respect. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter are all successful at work and home because they can be two different people. We all complain that we need more balance in our lives; maybe the key to life balance is having unbalanced personalities?

P.S.     LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan!! Although MJ was the ultimate competitor and we all knock LeBron for not being equally as intense on the court, LeBron has actually achieved more success in his home life. LeBron has a stable home life and even expresses his opinions on public issues in an attempt to help stabilize our community. LeBron is more capable of compartmentalizing work from home than MJ but we all worship MJ for being something that is actually… faulty. MJ wasn’t ever really able to turn off his game face when he went home, hence the divorces, fighting with teammates, gambling and addiction issues. I would say that LeBron is equivalently as faulty with his intensity at work as Michael Jordan was as faulty at home. Maybe they have equivalent greatness, just differently balanced? It’s funny how we often admire some of the most unbalanced people in the world.