TED Conversations

Dyed All Hues

Thinker and Experimenter,


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:


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


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.

  • thumb
    Jan 29 2013: Mood and behavior changes through life, through experiences they are related to the environment, conditions in which we live. Our personality will also depend on what we learn, empathy is present in humanity.

    It doesn't matter how much effort you make to see empathy as a weakness, it will never be.
    • thumb
      Jan 30 2013: I honestly don't believe empathy is a weakness, but it seems to be the view of those jaded and bitter individuals I know of.

      Like Peter Parker's Uncle in Spider-Man says "With great power comes great responsibilities", and empathetic individuals need to know that it is an ability to be cherished and used, while others could benefit from being aware or equally empathetic to their empathizers.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.