Be Nice


To be nice is one of the most underrated virtues.

Nice people can sometimes be regarded as weak, soft or ineffectual. Mean people get attention and respect, if not trust and affection. But as Roger Federer, the tennis champion, is known for saying: ‘It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.

Recognize that all people fight their battles. The man you pass in the subway, the woman at the checkout, the child you are raising, your father and mother, your colleague at work, your boss. We all have our problems, challenges, ups and downs, struggles and battles. We are used to life’s hardships, and we don’t expect support and understanding. Life is life. So when someone is nice to us, for no reason, a stranger on the bus, it warms the heart. It does not cost you anything to be nice to the people around you, but the sunshine you spread is priceless. To look at someone, smile and say ‘Hello, how are you?’ is all it takes. 

It is usually in tougher environments that people tend to be nicer, maybe because of a deeper underlying understanding about the hard- ships of life. I have noticed that it is more likely that a stranger entering an elevator in New York City will say ‘Good morning’ than someone entering an elevator in Stockholm.

In raising my children, I chose three simple things that I wanted them to focus on as a success formula for school and everyday life:

1. Do your homework
2. Brush your teeth.
3. Be kind.