Thursday, February 13, 2014

Nice Guys Don't Always Finish Last

You've probably familiar with the idea: when you're under attack, the hardest thing is not defending yourself. But the truth is that you're when you choose not to react, you're not really avoiding a fight, you're just choosing a far more familiar opponent. As Ben Zoma, a Talmudic sage from the second-century, once said: \
Who is strong? He who controls his impulses. As is stated (Proverbs 16:32), "Better one who is slow to anger than one with might, one who rules his spirit than the captor of a city."
Last night, I watched the end of "42," a film about baseball pioneer and legend Jackie Robinson. As Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, he endured racist taunts and threats everywhere he played. It was not reacting, keeping his focus on baseball, that allowed him to succeed in the battle for equality.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker follows the same playbook. When he receives angry and profane tweets from constituents, he responds by killing them with kindness. In an article on Quartz, Max Nisen quotes some of Booker's gracious Twitter responses. They're amazing to read. Check out this one featured in the article:

  1. @RWwatchMA @RichNj5 @newsagg @CoryBooker Booker is corporate slime.
And I think you are probably a good person. I wish you the best RT @rtpburns: Booker is corporate slime.
So what happens when you let your anger get the better of you? No need to worry. You can still fight back. In a beautiful essay in the Huffington Post, Josh Misner tells about the time he apologized to a Delta airlines employee after missing his connecting flight. Misner's apology was not only reciprocated, but resulted in better seats on the next flight.

I guess nice guys don't always finish last.

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