“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”
A few weeks back I was listening to a podcast that was interviewing Dr. Robert Glover, author of the well-known book No More Mr. Nice Guy and a point he made about the importance of integrity really stood out to me.
Too often we focus on the values of integrity with regard to our external situation –
- Do you give back the $20 bill that fell out of that man’s pocket in front of you?
- Do you go back into the grocery store to pay for something that didn’t get rung up when you were checking out?
-but how often do we make sure that we are being honest with THE most important person, ourselves?
What impact does lacking integrity have on our very spirit and how do we undermine our own integrity throughout our day-to-day interactions?
The Integrity Bleed-Over Effect
I’m reminded of a lesson one of my old martial arts instructors gave to the class many years ago when I was still a teenager. He told us that it was important to do everything, especially the small tasks with earnest effort as they build upon and allow us to accomplish the greater tasks.
If you can’t even do the smaller tasks given to you, what makes you think you will excel at the larger tasks?
This lesson rings true when it comes to our integrity as well. If you can’t be honest with yourself and others over the small things, what makes you think you can be honest over the big things?
So what impact do these small infractions upon our integrity have on us, besides not preparing us for when the big tests come along?
Simply put, it erodes our spirit. Every time we say a lie or don’t say anything at all in order to be the “nice guy” and keep the waters smooth, we are ingraining into our psyche that we’re a liar, a fraud. Over time, this erodes our soul to the point where you are miserable, stressed, and more likely to commit even greater atrocities.
In this interview, Robert Glover describes how he was a nice guy that got along to get along. He attributes this consistent denial of his own integrity to why he had an affair in his first marriage and why his second marriage eventually crumbled. In short, his lack of integrity on small things gradually bled over onto larger, more serious issues.
How You Undermine Your Integrity
Our highly feminized society has created an atmosphere where it’s difficult to be open and honest with people. So many people get hurt feelings over a harsh word and then proceed to destroy the offending individual that many men have taken to being Mr Nice Guy.
The problem with this, beyond what was described earlier in this article, is that you wind up sabotaging yourself by taking on undue burdens from your manager, wife, and friends, thus doing many tasks with a mediocre to poor level of proficiency.
If you don’t have the integrity to tell people no when you’re taking on too much, people will stop respecting you and your time. You’ll be nothing more than a yes-man, a doormat.
Let’s take a moment to review some small issues that arise that men generally fall for the Mr Nice Guy trap:
- Your boss asks you to take on a special project when your workload is already at full capacity.
- You finish your chores around the house and your wife then asks you to do some of hers because she’s falling behind.
- Your friend wants you to help him move though you’ve asked him for favors in the past and he’s always said no.
- Someone asks for your opinion on something where you can tell a white lie or give a more confrontational response.
If you find yourself feeling pressured internally to say “yes” every time someone makes a request of you, you need to take some time to introspect and ask yourself why you feel the need to always accommodate others.
Now that we’ve discussed Nice Guy syndrome, can you tell me what the opposite of a Nice Guy is?
If you answered “A Mean Guy” or a “Jerk,” you would be…wrong.
The opposite of a Nice Guy would be a honest guy; honest with others, but most importantly, honest with yourself.
Whenever you are feeling pressured to say yes to something or to be nonconfrontational or accommodating, ask yourself if this is putting you in a lose-lose situation or if you even want to do it. In the long run, it’s better to stir up the waters from time to time, than to not be true to yourself and assert your own wants and needs.
We’ll discuss the Nice Guy condition further in future articles, but for now let us know what Nice Guy issues you struggle(d) with and how you are working to overcome them.