Nice guys finish last, right?
Sometimes I wonder.
When I was a student in a college, my mind was consumed with this question. Early mornings were spent in classrooms reading the Bible. Discussions had over coffee and in my spare time were concerned with religion and the plight of humanity. My weekends were spent in bars, always wearing “religious” t-shirts, and hoping to help someone in some way.
On the outside I was a nice guy, but on the inside, I was just another student.
Because I was outwardly, a nice guy, there seemed to be discussions of morality and general goodness that found my ear more easily. My friends from high school would giggle at my statements, and the girls I hung around would claim with certainty, “women do not like nice guys.”
It was all so perfect. Me, thinking I was somehow different, and others, noticing my difference. I could be the hero of my own story, based on my behavior. Eventually, I became the president of our local Baptist Student Union, though I was never good at the telling of that tale. I traveled to other countries for those that wanted nothing more than the conversion of souls. All the while, reading and considering thinkers that were much less than orthodox. In that circle, even heretical.
When I was outside of the group of religion, I would guard my thoughts. I would not glance at women. Once I found myself in the midst of pious people, I changed. I developed an insatiable curiosity for those of the opposite sex.
In one world, I was, “a nice guy”. In another world, I was whatever critical words those that observed me used. I cannot deny any of it. My mind, my response to life, and even my behavior, was determined by others. Not by the desire to fit in, but by the desire to be opposed to group thinking. Just opposite. Just different.
Some might call this finding “my way”. Whatever it was, it was fun. During all of these times, I considered myself a nice guy. Even now, I consider myself to be a nice guy. But one thing is certain, I did not find my way, I found the “opposite way”.
But, what of being a nice guy? What good does it do the world or me? Does the whole world need to be nice? Should the mission be to create other nice people?
Everything is perception. It is not that all around us is illusion, but it is, that all around us is shaped by what we initially think. It is not that we control everything in our world, but it is that we interpret everything in our world. That interpretation affects each of our actions, which determine everything that happens next.
One of the greatest social experiments in the history of the world might very well be Facebook. We have been given, imperfect though it may be, the tools to reach others in a positive way. For years, most of our chance meetings with those we knew, were filled with longing.
“I wish I could find out where she/he lives.”
“Have you heard anything from so-and-so?”
“Gee, I wonder if (insert name) needs anything.”
In a very real way, it is time to put up or shut up.
If we feel like the world is going to hell, we might spread a little peace and love, even if it is only on social media. We might be concerned that sites use AI (artificial intelligence) to determine what we see, but that is no excuse not to purposefully create kindness. Sure, it is nice not to comment on something you disagree with, but what if we used ten minutes a day to try to understand a person by what they post and offer compassion.
Facebook is a reflection of the universe, not because Facebook is a creator, but because it is what has been created. When people share violent videos and say, “this is horrible,” what they really mean is, “look at this violence.”
When people say, “What about the chicken I bought at KFC, it was cold. People should do a better job,” they are saying, I feel like I could do a better job.
I am not an advocate of social media as a rule, but it is a reality. It is a reality, not because it exists, but it because people so often place themselves inside of a 4″ screen for two hours and then try to live in an infinite world the rest of the day. We allow the very limited to inform our limitlessness. We allow our infinite selves to be informed by minuscule thinking. It is nothing new, but it is magnified by interactions with small windows into skewed realities.
My mother used Facebook to speak well of others. She knew so little about “friending”, or instant messaging, but she offered kind words. Because she was kind. Yes, there is a falseness to social media, but there is also something very real. Why not use it for good? Seriously, why not?
For the past year or so, I have been drawing and posting on the Resting Times Facebook page. Always with what I consider positive and thoughtful, considerations and drawings.
I told you I was nice.
For the past three years, I have written blogs that I believed would help anyone that chose to devote that much time to reading such things.
Are you convinced I am nice, yet?
What I am saying, it that social media is not our savior, but it does not have to be our demise. It might even make you feel “nice”.
Now about that nice thing. I joke about my being nice. Opinions about me vary. Some think I am quite awesome and some think I am quite the opposite. I will sum it up with a quote.
It is attributed to Bob Dylan (by now you understand that is not surprising).
“I am just trying to be me, whoever that is.”
I am tempted to believe those who think I am great, and discount those who think I am an asshole.
To quote another favorite, Forest Gump, “I think its both.”
Nothing about what others say, or what Facebook says, or what my family says, or what my friends say, determines what I am. That is all up to me. There is no one to blame.
With all of that, come the my words from me to you. You are greater than you imagine. Your love makes the difference in many lives. Nothing that is set up against you in this world can change the infinite potential and possibility you have in each moment. You, my friend, are the proverbial “bombdiggity”.
Nice guys may or may not finish last, but in the scope of things, there are no nice guys. There are, however, nice thoughts.
While consider these thoughts, my son walk onto the porch. His shirt had a Santa hat (at the end of June) with the words, “Santa… I was naughty… and it was worth it.” He wondered why I laughed so loud and so long.