This week, Life Training Online is reviewing The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness, by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, the seventh of fifty-two books in the 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks series.

“Yes” Your Way to the Top

When I first started reading this chapter, I thought the authors were originally supporting being a “Yes Person”, a person who doesn’t know how to say “no”. But after reading a bit deeper, what they are actually recommending is maintaining a positive outlook in all your actions and relations. Because being positive can have a huge impact on your entire life — from your productivity to how you get ahead in life.

Part of being positive is assuming people have the best of intentions for you. Even though you know that they are trying to knock you down, if you approach such criticism as constructive it will keep your mood high and disarm the person giving it. The example that they use in the book is, say someone tells you that they hate what you’re wearing. You could respond in one of two ways: Say something nasty back or thank them for being concerned about your appearance. Despite their intentions, you need to train yourself to interpret each encounter as something positive. This will have huge positive effects on your life.

Shut Up and Listen

Great communicators are not always the ones who are eloquent of speech. Most great communicators are that way because they are in fact, great listeners. If we are constantly going on and on about our accomplishments and our opinions on some matter we will never understand the other person. We may be good speakers, but without the ability to listen, we’re poor communicators.

Effective listening also requires “putting your head on the other person’s shoulders” and listening with the intent to understand. This is what empathy means. When people realize that you truly understand them, they’ll be so much more willing to open up to you.

Create a Nicer Universe

There are different ways to get ahead in life. Being ruthless is one of them although it’s fortunately not the only one. What the intent of this book is and what the authors hope that you get out of it is to realize that being kind and considerate is another way — what they feel to be an even more effective way — of achieving success. Not only will being nice get you further ahead in your career but you will also feel better about yourself on top of it.

Realize that even the smallest action of kindness can have a multiplier effect that can cause miracles to happen — in your job, your relationships, and with yourself. These small acts indeed help you to become healthier, wealthier, and most importantly happier.

The Power of Nice is the seventh of fifty-two books in Life Training – Online’s series 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks.

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