Niceness, Without Expectations

Nice is holding the door for the person behind you as you walk through it. It’s giving someone a bouquet of flowers just because you feel like it. Or, checking up on friends every once in a while to see if they’re okay.

Why would nice be wrong?

When it comes to being nice, there’s no so that’s. 

Being nice isn’t gifting somebody a box of chocolates so that you can consider it a rain check for a future favour. It’s not texting your colleague a “How are you?” so that you can ask them to buy your branded merch. It’s not talking up somebody so that they’ll like you and give you free gifts in return.

When it comes to being genuinely nice towards others, there shouldn’t be expectations for returns (otherwise it wouldn’t actually be nice).

How Do You Know When?

“I’ll know it when I see it” is not good at being helpful or clear.

So how do we know when it’s good enough? How can we be so sure it’s ready to take towards the next step?

Bad, rough, unfinished, non-perfected, ugly ideas might feel wrong to accept and publish, because it hasn’t been refined yet, but slaving away for perfect hardly gives you a chance to win the hearts of your audience.

The solution is to take a rough idea forward. It’s not what schools teach and reward, but it’s more effective at finding what might be good, what might click with hundreds of others, and what could give you your creative breakthrough when you’re feeling stuck.

Nothing to Say

We’re often not the first to speak out loud, mostly voicing personal opinions in a group when asked. And when we do, sometimes we’re quick to undermine ourselves so that we don’t risk the chance of offending others or coming off as unintentionally cocky.

In the midst of all the self-doubt, we forget that talking isn’t really a strength—communication is.

Communication means clarity in your message, and tact in your delivery. It’s not about the quantity of words, but how the message gets understood by other people.

So no, having nothing to say isn’t to be looked down on, because simply talking for the sake of filling up silence doesn’t earn you any points in anyone’s books.

What’s worth more is allowing people to understand the things you say when you do, and how you make them feel about it.

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