How Nice Guys Can Finish First

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How Nice Guys Can Finish First

I hate being labeled as a “nice guy.” I would get that a lot growing up. At first, I took it as a compliment, people noting my maturity, kindness, and service towards others. However, as I got older I realized that there was another quality that was attached to the label that I began to despise. This quality is passivity.

I don’t want to be known as a passive guy. I want to be known as a man of boldness.

A passive man does not stand up for what he believes in. He’s not able to take a hit and get back up fighting. He can never get angry about an injustice that was done to the people he cares about. For those guys who have been labeled as a “nice guy,” know that it’s not all on us. As John Eldridge writes in Wild at Heart, “masculinity bestows masculinity.” We have lost our sense of what true masculinity is. We need to rediscover masculine boldness, where men are unafraid to take courageous action for the sake of the other. The climb from a man who tends to be passive to a man of boldness is a long and arduous journey. What are the steps we need to take to get there?


Being self-aware is crucial to breaking free from the chains of passivity. We first need to know the fears that continue to make us passive. The fear of the unknown? The fear of not measuring up to the challenge at hand? The answers to these only come in time and in reflection. Start and end the day in reflection. Prepare for our days looking for the bold opportunities. It’s harder to be bold if we’re not looking for our opportunities to do so.


The role of the mentor is a lost art in our world for two reasons. First, because there are less good men to ask but also because there are fewer men seeking for one. Our world sees asking for advice as a weakness rather than a virtuous act of humility. It takes a humble man to realize that a mentor can see his faults clearer than he can. He could be a father, an older friend, a spiritual director, or more likely, a combination depending on the season of our life. A mentor checks us back into reality. A mentor is a guide for our lives. Asking for advice takes humility. Asking for advice takes courage.


We should neither reject nor forgot our strengths throughout this process. Be grateful for our gifts of kindness, maturity, and service towards others. Use them as a starting point to look for our moments of boldness in the day. Then take action. We were meant for more than a life of passivity and the strength we crave for lies within us. Let us love in the small, great, and bold ways in our daily lives. The people in front of us need us to be who we were meant to be.

“I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love”- Pope Francis

Phil Tran
Phil Tran
Phil Tran, the youngest member of The Culture Project, was born in Vietnam but raised in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Growing up, he always wanted to pursue a career in engineering, working towards that goal throughout high school while also growing deeper in the faith. However, his world changed forever when God called him into deeper service to the Church during his senior year of high school. After studying for a brief time in seminary and returning home, he discerned that God was calling him to spend a year of his life in missionary work with The Culture Project, administering to His people in this incredible way while continuing to discern his vocation.