More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Does Being Nice Make You A "Carpet Mat" - Ask Dr Thanh, Ph(aic) D(octor)

Does the old saying, "nice guys finish last" really true. If you look at sportsmans, you would probably say that is mostly true. The majority of sportsman are quite aggressive in striving for success. Of course there are still people who are nice and succeed, but is that the exception rather than the rule?

In the business and professional world, do you have to a be a Richard Cranium (a saying my friend Justin uses, think about it, it abbreviates to something) to succeed. At this stage in my career, I'm still at a very low level so there's no need to be too aggressive yet as I am not seen as a threat. Anyway I'm not that type of personality and I don't think I ever will be. But I know that if and when I do move higher, I will need to learn to be slightly more aggressive so that I don't get pushed around.

I think there is a difference to being nice and being as Oprah calls it a "carpet mat". A carpet mat is someone who lets other people step all over them. They will agree to most things even if its not in their best interest or what they want to do. You can still be nice but be firm on your beliefs, morals and make choices that suit you.

In terms of work, I'm definitely not a "carpet mat". Like I said, I'm not the aggressive type but I will stick up for what I believe in. Sometimes it is quite hard to stay true to your beliefs when someone else may be very strong in their opinions and will just push their opinion through even if they are wrong. You have to decide whether its worth it to argue it and take on the battle. Argument is not the solution to anything, but just letting things slide everytime is asking for trouble. It becomes habit and the other person knows that they can shoot you down every time and walk all over you like a carpet mat.

Although I'm ok in work situations, I think where I do sometimes become a bit of a carpet mat is in my personal life. It occurs sometimes without me even realising it. I know I've always liked to be helpful, sometimes even too helpful. But thats my nature and it gives me satisfaction to help people. But getting too used to this habit of saying yes to everyone's requests for help has its drawbacks. Since I am so willing to help, sometimes people rely on you too much to help them and I feel like you have to say yes. I know I put this pressure on myself due to all the other times that I say yes. Another drawback is that others don't appreciate your help as much. Since it is such a common occurance, sometimes they don't even have the decency to thank you properly. Not that I need them to buy me a Rolex watch or anything but a heartfelt thank you wouldn't go astray.

I can remember certain situations where even though I'm the one who was asked for help, I'm the one who also has to make the effort to chase up that person. This has occurred a few times during when I was back in school and helping friends with their assignments. I remember one time back at uni when this friend had asked for help and we had arranged to meet at the library. Not only did he turn up 1 hour late, he didn't even call to say that he would be late and wasted an hour of my time that I could have used to study for exams as well.

Another situation was another friend used to ask if he could come over and use my PC to do his resume, burn cds etc. I had no problems with this, but it was always at inconvenient times like dinner time or really late at night when I was about to go to sleep. And he always said it was urgent. So I would always say ok and told him to come over. However, eventually I said to him to either call and give me more warning or go to someone else. What drove me to this was that I was actually quite mad at him. I was always so helpful to him but when he started up an indoor soccer team, he didn't even invite me to play. I knew at the time I wasn't the greatest player YET (hehehe now I'm much better after 4 seasons of indoor soccer) but you would think that since I had helped him so much he would invite me to play. I realised that I had considered him a friend whilst he had only seen me as something who would always help him.

When people step over me sometimes, I think, "why was I so stupid to let them do that to me again". I constantly say that I should learn from my mistakes, and I always do that in my professional career so why can't I apply that to my personal life too. Is it like Oprah says, it feels so much harder to get angry at people you know when you're not that type of person.

As I've gotten older, I have also gotten wiser and have been less inclined to let people walk over me as much. However I still have a way to go before it totally stops. I don't want to change who I am too much as I like being nice to people and having them mirror that to me. I just have to learn to recognise certain situations when people are abusing my help or do not acknowledge my help. Such a thing happened today when I said that I was in a rush to go and the other person said they needed my help. So I said I'll pack up and come back here and wait for them. When I arrived back, they saw that I was standing there waiting for them and instead of simply excusing themselves from another conversation, they expected me to stand there and wait. Well I just thought, "stuff this" I'm the one whos suppose to be helping you and if you can't even be bothered to make an effort, forget it, I'll just leave. Which is just what I did. I was only upset for about 5 seconds, but this incident helped to give me a kick in the butt and wake me up to the same old bad habits that I had fallen into again. So I really must thank that person for giving me such a valuable reminder. I think I'm learning everyday. There's hope for me yet. Oprah would be proud, hahaha. I only watch the occasional Oprah show when I'm sick or on holidays. Her show is becoming too self help. There can't be that many things wrong with us, or am I just in denial?


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