Do Good People Finish Last?

The saying I grew up with was actually, “nice guys finish last.” But this an everyone journey – let’s be inclusive. The phrase became a cliché because it has a lot of truth to it. Those that treat others with thoughtfulness and compassion in a cutthroat competition often fall victim to the ruthless conquerors, cheaters, and manipulators. History and experience both provide ample examples.

Kindness, while revered in relationships and humanity, humbly takes a back seat in fierce competition. Until we hit a rough patch, a crisis, then the sentiment turns, and the good humans are relied upon to recalibrate and steady the course. Kindness and compassion are the dependable strength.

We find ourselves in an extreme time of challenge, and as before, we witness the power of love for other humans triumph in time of great need. We see the small acts and great feats of compassion, care, and kindness, and we celebrate. We marvel and respect the quiet character becoming a superpower.

Convinced that good has overcome evil, that the mountain of evidence compiled in the time of need will have turned the tide and awakened the dawn of a new era, the humble and kind quietly recede. Returning to the familiar and constant pattern; as always, believing a lasting shift has occurred, knowing this is how things should be, and they go about daily life.

Not defeated. Knocked down but not out, the status quo patiently lies in the weeds. Awaiting the opportunity for resurgence, the passing of crisis and need, the recalibration, so once again they can emerge and tip the scales in their favor. This is the dance of time.

Not this time. Let’s make this the last time. The transformation to a better future is not over. This time, we recognize and stand united, with resolve – We have just begun.

The voices we need for our future are the voices and acts and feats we see leading the way through difficulty. Those that can rally the many under extreme conditions through purpose and belief. This is true strength.

When the storm passes and the shadow reappears, we will be ready. We will be united.

The shadow of our poorly led past is not gone, it has simply been hidden in the clouds of crisis. When the storm passes and the shadow reappears, we will be ready. We will be united. Ready to expand the goodness of the new era. Creating room for many more to explore and discover, offering support, encouragement, and strength, the numbers will grow, the power will shift. Change will last.

We will hold space for others to join and offer the helping hand of enlightenment to the heritage-hugging, purveyors of the broken current-state models. They are welcome, as are all who believe we can do better. Better for our people, better for our communities, better for our companies. We will continue to raise the voices of true strength – the compassionate, empathetic, and the caring. We will envision and create the path to the future we envision, led by the best of us. Those that have the capacity to carry the wellbeing of others as a privilege, not a burden.

We will see our way through this challenge – and this time, we will not recede.

We must remain focused. Intentional. Be resilient through unity, learning, inclusion, and growth.

Let’s change the cliché’. Let’s change the game.


Mike Vacanti
Mike Vacanti
Mike believes, “It’s more than what we accomplish – it’s who we become along the journey!” His mission is to Lift Others, helping people discover their potential, embrace a growth mindset and achieve at inspired levels. Mike has transformed businesses and inspired people to perform at levels they didn’t think possible. Mike's known as a great listener and collaborative, creative problem solver. For generating speed and confidence through innovation and transformation. His current endeavors as advisor, consultant, and keynote speaker, are shifting the belief in what is possible and opening hearts to a better vision and future of business around the globe. Sharing his extensive career of invention, reinvention and highly complex business combinations, he consistently delivers on the belief that the heart of any organization is People – People drive results. Mike has released his new book, BELIEVERSHIP: The Superpower Beyond Leadership, and is the Founder of HumansFirst, a global community of positive change catalysts. Following many years in advertising and marketing, He launched early-stage start-ups & led M&A initiatives for publicly traded tech companies. Five-times he was thrust into the chaos of transformation and helped people navigate the doubt, fear, and chaos of significant change. His teams exceeded expectations, consistently beat the challenge, learned a lot and had some fun.

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  1. Mike, I was struct by a thought when I read your fine post. A lot of our attention when we focus on leaders, at least to me, is toward the leaders, which is understandable. But I’m wondering if we need to make a concerted effort or more of a concerted effort to engage HR professionals in these discussions. I don’t know what that effort would look like exactly, but one simple idea is that HR professionals are often engaged in the hiring of executives, so why not make sure they have a #humansfirst outlook when they’re helping to review applications and candidates?

  2. Fantastic, Mike. I think this is a challenge for every generation to come. The natural inclination is to default to self-interest. It takes purpose and determination to change and maintain the kind of mindset where we think of life as working together instead of our own, selfish desires.