Monday, August 8, 2011

A Poem for the Nice Guys

Hi everyone,

I'm pretty open that I work with people on this journey because it's my journey, too. I'm coming back around to some old stuff from a higher level (we call it the Spiral Path, where you come back around to things, with more skills, tools and perspective) and this poem is a result. I'll stop over-talking and just let the poem speak for itself. I wish you all the best, Peter

No Need
I am No-Need.
I have No Name.
I am without Want
Or Feeling.
Don't worry about me.

I live to Serve.
Serving without Need.
If you have no Needs,
What am I, then?
I am Not.
I am Nothing.
For I have No Role or Use.
I am Obliviated.

And in the Nothingness,
I may feel my own Feelings,
And want my own Wants.
And, for the first time, know my own Name.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Nice Guys and Exoskeletons

It came to me today, that I, like many Nice Guys I know, have developed exoskeletons over the years.

What do I mean by that?

Well, I was thinking about the habits, skills and strategies I have picked up along the way (since, perhaps the beginning of high school). I was a pretty sensitive kid, a smart one, and a little chubby. Ah, what a great way to go through junior high!

Anyways, I realized that I learned some things from then on in. I learned how to dress. I learned how to walk with purpose. I learned how to fake it. I learned how to be social. I learned how to be funny. I learned how to read people's emotions, and what they needed.

All of these acted as a shield, as a protectant. They were, in short, an exoskeleton. They protected me and kept me safe inside.

The downside was that the strengthening inside that shell was slow, since it wasn't really needed to get by in life. Inside that shell, I remained fairly young and sensitive. Also, it interfered with my *real* contact with other people. They were interacting with the image of me, not often the *real* me. Hell, I didn't let anybody get close to that.

It's been the work of my adulthood (actually, since starting my journey to this career when I was 32) to start to develop the insides and actually let it out to connect and interact. Now, at 45, I feel much freer - more real and sincere and authentic. Being the dad of a toddler has helped too, as my little guy is nothing if not true to himself, and I find dad's are allowed to be soft and silly in a way younger men really aren't in this culture.

OK, that's all from here today. I wish you all the best - from the real me to the real you.

Best, Peter
Counseling for Nice Guys to be More Authentic

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On Non-Nice Guy Stuff

Hello readers,

Just wanted to let you know, if you like what you see here and are interested in other therapy & life-related writings of mine, you might want to check out my other new blog:

Best, Peter

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Quick, But Important Thought for Nice Guys

You will really make a break-through when you take into account how much doing (or not doing) something would disappoint YOU along with how much it might disappoint someone else.

It is the balance of these things that makes for good decision making in a relationship.

P.S. - many Nice Guys are good at over-estimating how disappointed people get.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Nice Guys, Frank Burns, and Game Theory

"It's nice to be nice… to the nice." – Col. Frank Burns on the TV show M*A*S*H

It surprises me that a great quote for nice guys comes from Frank Burns, who I never would associate with being one. But the heart of the quote really reflects the dilemma that nice guys face in their daily lives. They like to be nice. They want to be nice. But not everyone plays nice back. So what to do?

This is where game theory comes into play. Game theory is a form of applied mathematics that deals with behavior in strategic situations, where an individual’s success depends on the actions of others. Instead of using the terms “nice” or “not nice”, game theory would use the words “cooperative” or “non-cooperative”. There is mathematical proof that playing a game always from a constantly cooperative standpoint is not the most effective. Neither is playing from a non-cooperative standpoint all the time.

What turns out to create the best outcomes is having a hybrid strategy. In this strategy, you always start interacting with the player cooperatively. Then, your next move is a mirror of their last move. If they acted cooperatively, you continue to act cooperatively. If they act uncooperatively, you act on uncooperatively. In other words, always start out nice. But then treat others as they treat you.

You can imagine this in the work world as a way of training people how to treat you. Of rewarding good behavior, but not bad. I've seen too many nice guys just smile and take it when people really behave badly to them. Game theory points us to a mathematical proof that this is not an effective way to go through life. And apparently, Frank Burns would concur.

Wishing you the best. Sincerely, Peter Hannah