TED Conversations

Dyed All Hues

Thinker and Experimenter,

TEDCRED 30+

This conversation is closed.

How can overly empathetic/sympathetic people compete in this world? Do they eventually end up jaded and bitter?

The saying goes "nice guys finish last". I interpret that "nice" means overly empathetic/sympathetic people who sacrifice themselves for others happiness. Kindness seems to be a sign of weakness in that saying, as though people prey on those kind-hearted people. If it were true, then how do kind people compete in this world? Is it some kind of evolutionary Yin and Yang, where a balance of certain personalities need to exist for progress to happen or do people have peaks and troughs of kindness in them?

Update: Thought I'd share a fascinating article found in the comments below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/marcia-sirota/too-nice_b_946956.html

It is about the differences between being nice and being kind.

Share:

Closing Statement from Dyed All Hues

Thank you all for your well thought comments. I have learned a lot and I hope you've all taken some knowledge from this as well.

Be mindful of those around you and tread lightly on the paths made by your brothers and sisters of humankind.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jan 28 2013: What about the joy of giving to others and serving others, simply because you can... where one has the physical and financial capacity along with the time and opportunity. Like borrowing a tool from your neighbor, where you always return it in better condition than when you picked it up... leave the neighborhood and planet a better place because you were here. Consciousness, mobility, hands, feet, a mind with free-will, our senses, our incredible opportunities, health, leisure time... these things are a gift to us EVERY SINGLE DAY. They were not owed to us. Use them to better the world while you can.

    My oldest son was at a regional track-meet. The winner of a race between him (native-American/European) and an African-American, would go to nationals. They were equally matched. Coming out of the starting blocks, the black athlete got ahead of his feet and fell hard on his hands, knees and stomach. David went back to assist him amid the furious protesting screams of his coach and most of those in the stands. After helping him up and brushing off his knees, the two took off together, eventually into a dead sprint. AGAIN, the black athlete fell and Dave went back again to help him... and the screams that had just died down, EXPLODED! They took off together and it was basically a photo-finish.

    My youngest son was completing in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament and quickly got a position on his opponent where Jake could have easily reversed the other fellow's elbow. Carefully applying pressure, he realized that his opponent must have taken pain killers before the match or he would have submitted and Jake would take the #1 trophy. Instead of causing an injury that might plague his opponent's elbow in his senior years and the referee refusing to do his job and protect the athletes by stopping the match, Jake released him.

    I am blessed to have sons who fully understand that winning doesn't always mean "coming in first". I am extremely proud of my sons.
    • thumb
      Jan 28 2013: Hi Don,
      I just wrote a comment about how competitiveness and empathy/compassion can co-exist. What wonderful examples you have provided....really beautiful:>)

      You are "extremely proud" of your sons, with very good reason. I bet your sons are very proud of their dad with good reason as well:>)
      • Jan 28 2013: Hello Colleen Steen 500+. (You don't even look 30.) Thank you for your very kind words. I just realized that I have never once wondered if they were proud of me. Their obvious capacities for, and demonstrations of love, respect, desire to help others achieve, tender interactions with their children, is what I desired to instill (amoung other facets), but with their being 32 and 40, I do think that the days when dad dazzled them, are in the past. It is their time to dazzle their little ones.
        • thumb
          Jan 28 2013: Hello Don,
          30 huh? LOL! Actually, I am 30 x 2 +.............:>)

          And so the cycle goes.....we hopefully "dazzle" our kids with respect, compassion, empathy, kindness, desire to help others and tender interactions....who hopefully dazzle their kids....on and on it goes.........................
      • Comment deleted

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.