Do nice guys always finish last? This is a simple question to be pondered by all the nice guys and girls out there navigating their way through a world that, all too often, seems to have misplaced it's common sense, courtesy and integrity. Let's first ask an easier question. Where did the infamous phrase come from and how did it become so ingrained in our collective consciousness?
In 1946, Brooklyn Dodgers manager, Lee Durocher, said this about the Dodgers bitter rivals, the New York Giants, "The nice guys are all over there, in seventh place." Which at that time might as well have been last place. That's where it started. Someone took the ball and ran with it, an action that makes no sense in baseball, and we ended up with nice guys finish last. And when you think about it that shouldn't make any sense either.
But for some reason being a nice guy - or girl - can be a challenge these days. Always operating in integrity in a world where corruption runs amok is frustrating to say the least. When you try to do the right thing and find yourself in a quagmire of one obstruction after another, it can be very tempting to throw in the integrity towel and start taking short cuts, maybe even break a few rules. After all, everyone else gets away with it, right? Why not you?
When we consider the endless number of rules we are asked to follow on a daily basis, it's easy to conclude that some of them were made to be broken. But there has to be a line somewhere. The corruption that permeates our banks and government, for example, is the result of many years of blurred lines being crossed with no concern for consequences. Eventually the blurred lines just disappear. It's a slippery slope and as an old saying goes, "Integrity is like virginity, you can only lose it once."
Next time you reach your limit of things that can go wrong in a day, don't give up! Remember that there is wisdom and reward in all of life's obstacles no matter how unnecessary, and possibly heartbreaking, they seem at the time.
Take as an example the story in The Book of Job. A story about overcoming insurmountable obstacles. Whether you are a religious person or not, it is possible to find some pretty enlightening messages in the bible. Look at them as stories for individual interpretation.
Job lived a life blessed with wealth and a loving family. He was devoted to god and praised him. God wondered what would happen if Job didn't have such a great life. Would he still be a devoted believer? To answer the question, he took away all of Job's wealth and killed his children.
By any standard, that's a pretty harsh test.
But Job responded with divine grace saying, "The lord has given and the lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the lord." So the lord then inflicted him with disease.
At this point most would have to ask, "Are you kidding me?"
Job began to ask himself just that. His friends tried to console him by telling him God would cause no one to suffer innocently. They show unwavering belief in the wisdom of God. But Job curses God. He proclaims a just God would not treat him so harshly, patience in suffering is impossible and the Creator should not take his creatures so lightly, to come against them with such force.
Can you blame him for being bitter? The guy has nothing left.
In his continued suffering and search for answers Job asks, "Where is wisdom to be found?" He concludes that it has been hidden from man. He announces his innocence and lists the principles he has lived by, demanding an answer from God.
God speaks to Job through a vision but never explains why he has suffered. Instead he responds by asking, "Are you so wise that you can judge the will of God? Can you really understand my intentions? Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?"
Hearing this Job is humbled and confesses his lack of knowledge of things beyond him. Now that he has seen God where previously he only heard him, he retracts his curses and God restores his blessed life. His soul is evolved as a result of his hardship.
One hell of a test to learn the wisdom you seek is found in faith.
The story is symbolic of the heartaches and trials we face everyday. That which does not kill us truly makes us stronger. Every predicament we face was placed there to help our souls evolve. Every time we overcome an obstacle with our integrity intact, our light shines brighter.
This is a powerful message to all the nice guys, good girls and everyone who feels like an outsider for living your life with integrity. Keep plowing through the obstacles. Shine your light even on those who seem to be standing in your way. You and your eternal soul will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. You can never finish last.
"The more trials you face, the closer you are to the light. In the midst of joy, heaven is near, but you are also approaching heaven when you find yourself in the depths of sorrow." - Ryuho Okawa