No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

South African Motivational Speaker Ramon ThomasThere are times in your life when you’ve tried to help people, and it seems it all backfired. This is really the meaning of “no good deed goes unpunished.” And I’m reminded of the failure of friendships every day as I witness how people have withdrawn into themselves either through smartphones or endless downloaded TV shows.

In high school I wrote a angry poem: Nice Guys Finished Last. It was the story of my frustration with being a nice guy, and yet being a lonely guy with no girlfriend. As I reflected upon this poem, it dawned on me that being the nice guy has nothing to do with it. It was clear that I was not being nice to myself. So if I did not respect myself, how could I expect others to do the same.

No good deed goes unpunished – this is a phrase I first heard in some self help audio interviews. The guru was so confident, he almost seemed to be full of himself. I later found out he is a multimillionaire, and I’m sure it didn’t help being rich while making lofty pronouncements.

Since I moved to China in 2013 I tried to spend 80% of my time with Chinese friends. After all I didn’t move half way around the world to meet more foreigners. In my MBA class we are 11 students from all over the world. I was helpful to them as can be being older, more experienced in business. This didn’t work out exactly as planned.

As relationships with my classmates soured, I pulled back. I tried my best to maintain some real friendships until I helped one personal financially. This reminds me of another kind of life lesson: do not mix business with pleasure. In the end I don’t regret helping this particular guy, he just reminded me that no good deed goes unpunished.

You’re far better off helping yourself become the best you can possibly be. You can lead by example, and others will follow. When you help people out of their misery, be careful. You’ve offered them a finger and they may grab your whole arm. The wise among us know that doing less is more.


Faithful friends

Friendship often starts early childhoodFaithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

The best friend you can ever have is a friend who does not always agree with everything you say. You need someone with a different world view, who sees things differently, and is not afraid to speak their mind, even if it opposes your viewpoint.

You are in bad company, if you do not have someone who has the guts to put you straight, when you are going off track. A true friend will tell you the truth, even if it hurts, they will not allow you to continue down a path which will destroy you. if you have friends who just let you do whatever you like and never correct you when you are wrong, you don’t have friends, you have enemies.

Even in a love relationship, God will always pair you with someone with a different world view to stretch you and grow you. You do not need a “Yes man/woman” in your life. You need some one with the guts to tell you straight to your face when you go astray. It will be like medicine, it will not taste good, but it will be good for you. True leaders, don’t surround themselves with cheerleaders, they surround themselves with coaches.

Have a great day, because you are great!