Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 112 - When Nobody's Watching the Nice Guys

My first basketball coach, Mr. Gregg, taught us that character was defined by what we did when nobody was watching.  He encouraged us to pick up the scrap pieces of paper off the floor when we walked by and throw them in the trash.  He made it clear that this was a brief "one-time-only" speech about a no tolerance policy on alcohol or drugs.  He assured us that if he even HEARD of us being at a party drinking beer or doing drugs, we were going to be kicked off the team. He read to us a poem about Character and I have never forgotten it.  It is framed on the wall in our front guest room with the basketball motif. 
    its all about character
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

This has become a motto I try to live by as a result of hearing those words that day as an impressionable young teenager.  This is how much influence coaches can have over the young kids that they coach. Mr. Gregg ran basketball drills with us. He did what he expected us to do.  He was a role model and a team leader.  I met him while staying with my Mother's co-worker when the roof blew off our house.  She had opened her home to us and her brother was Mr. Gregg. Mr. Gregg came over to help her finish the basement as they were remodeling it.  When Mr. Gregg first met me, he immediately asked me for help in the basement.  He gave me trust I didn't earn and saw quickly that I was deserving of it.  He said that if I was good at building, that I could also be good at basketball as it took patience and hard work.  He somehow had recognized my ability to work hard at the age of thirteen.

It is the people like this that teach us how to distinguish the people who live the life of character from the people who wear a mask of character.  This example has helped me in many areas.  Two come to mind.  The first is when people who work with us and are truly incompetent.  To make up for their incompetence, they try to be nice.  While being nice is super, it doesn't help the company make money nor does it protect the company from losing money.  The reality is that the incompetence has been allowed and enabled.  Being nice while being incompetent costs a company more money than the worker is worth and co-workers to work harder to make up for the slack the "nice guy" is providing.   Basically one is stealing if they are doing this.  The reality is that this behavior is not nice. 

Secondly I hear about relationships in which women say that their husband or partner has continually been verbally abusive or played psychological games with them.  To which they finish the story with, but he's a nice person.  I too have said this to which a good friend with character exclaimed, "BJ, a nice person does not do these things!"  This is the mask under which "so-called nice guys" hide.  They isolate their victim first.  They then commit acts of violence or passive aggressive behavior when nobody's looking.  This is their true character.

If there ever was a person who knew this best it was Randy Pausch who wrote a book, The Last Lecture, for his children when he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  People with this type of cancer don't live much past ninety days.  In it he wrote one story specifically for his daughter, as advice for choosing a life partner. Don't believe what you hear, believe what you observe. Randy was a college professor and delivered his last lecture.  You can google it or search for it on You Tube or click here to view it.  When I have a question about morals, ethics or character, I search his words out.  He had good thoughts, kind words, purposeful actions, better habits and impeccable character..  When nobody but God was watching, he wrote this lecture, this book and made videos for his wife and children to view after he was gone. Now that's a Nice Guy.

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