Nice People Can and Do Succeed – But it Takes Work

To get to the top in whatever you would define as "success" the journey is just as important as the final destination. Here's our list of traits nice people work at cultivating to help them succeed in work and in their lives.
By aha insurance - Oct 23, 2018

At aha insurance we continually explore ways to stay in control of all aspects of life – because we know life is about more than insurance. In our Work Matters series we talk about staying in control of your life and reaching your #careergoals. Control feels great!

Do nice guys finish last? If so, are nice women even further behind them at the finish line? Nice people can and do succeed, but it takes work. You can still be nice and have other traits that help you accomplish your goals towards success. Here are some of the traits nice people work at cultivating to help them succeed.

Successful nice people ensure their definition of “success” is attainable and manageable. What does success mean to you? For some, it’s power, title and riches. For others, it’s contributing to society in a meaningful way while having others appreciate and respect them. Everyone defines success differently, and that’s ok.

Plan For It

Once “success” is defined individually, it’s achieved by mapping out a plan with manageable goals and strategies for getting there. Sure, not-nice people do this too, but they centre themselves in the plan and use others instead of working with them. Nice people keep their distance from users and takers. They band together with other nice people. There is strength in numbers and in finding a community of like-minded people who enjoy helping one another.

Be Nimble

Nice people who succeed aren’t afraid to cut their losses and revisit their plan if something isn’t working. Everyone goes through rough patches, and nice people have considered ahead of time ways to ride out those hard times, but they also re-evaluate their big picture often. Staying in jobs or relationships that aren’t fulfilling can take away anyone’s niceness. Working at a job you don’t like may pay the bills temporarily, but successful nice people don’t stop looking for a role they really want and don’t fall into the trap of staying where they’re unhappy just because it’s convenient.

Pick Your People

Nice people who succeed try to always work in an environment where their skills and personality are appreciated. Don’t swim with sharks if you’re a sweet dolphin! Some jobs may come your way that look fantastic in terms of title and pay, but what’s the cost to you personally if everyone you work with is a jerk? How much harder will you need to work in that environment and what toll will that take on your psychological well-being? Nice people know that their emotional health is a priority and will bypass money and title to preserve their capacity to be kind to others and themselves.

Mentor Up

Successful nice people also often have a mentor. Being nice helps them attract professionals who are further along in their career and interested in helping someone get ahead. Mentors are great at giving advice and looking out for you, which sometimes can equal protection from the meanies or at least tips on how to deal with them. Nice people who succeed never play the victim card. They wear their thick skin and ignore not-so-nice people. Mentors often teach assertiveness and how to say “No” without being rude or including an apology or explanation.

Never Stop Learning

Nice people move ahead if they ask for constructive criticism from mentors or coworkers and superiors. Sure, praise feels better, but how does that help you improve? Most forms of success require constant growth and improvement. Being told ways to improve your work is what really pushes you to keep trying harder and doing better so you continue to rise up that scale or excellence. Nice people who are able to set their ego aside will do far better than people who fret or get defensive with those who provide helpful, honest feedback.

Never Quit

Quitters never prosper, so persistence pays off, and not just for the bad guys. Nice and persistent can co-exist and do the work needed to keep pushing forward. Persistence has shown to be a trait almost as effective as hard-working, which also can live in harmony with niceness. As a trio? Look out! Hard work and persistence can climb mountains, but who wants the kind of person who would toss you off the mountain waiting at the top? That’s the edge being nice can add.


Nice and focused can beat cut-throat and unfocused any day. Focus is a hot commodity these days, in a world where distractions can wipe out your entire day. At any given moment, at least twenty distractions like social media, texts, breaking news and family demands, are all fighting for your attention. Nice people who keep their nose to the grind and their blinders and earplugs on often can afford to stay nice because they work steady and therefore don’t need to resort to nasty business to meet their goals in a panic at the last minute.

Share more

Nice people share ideas. They want others to succeed also because if everyone is doing well and succeeding, there is more success in the company or situation and nice people know they benefit more from that environment than they do from keeping their secrets to success to themselves. That’s a win-win mentality that most people appreciate and learn from.

Successful people who are also nice generally put other people near the top of their list of priorities. Relationships matter to them and they thrive off good ones. People are the most important part of a business or a relationship, so clearly nice people have tapped into the essence of success. Valuing others and treating them with well always has a higher payoff.

aha insurance is Canada’s first car and home insurance brokerage to offer a fully online customer experience. Customers can purchase and manage their car and home insurance online in minutes from the convenience of wherever they are. This puts customers in complete control, and control feels great.