Does it pay to be good to succeed or do the honest finish last in the professional career?

When it comes to career and how to improve it, uncomfortable questions quickly arise if you analyze the data. We already saw controversial advice to ascend in your day and today I want to answer another compromised question: Does it pay to “be good” or is it true that you will be last?

That is, is it profitable to follow the rules and help or advantage and success are for those who tread to the rest?

Let’s look at the answer, because it is full of fascinating nuances.

The top doesn’t seem to be for good people, is it really?

Expressions like: “If you don’t cheat, you don’t care enough” or “the good guys finish last”, They are phrases that many think in secret and some say out loud. After all, all the bosses are unbearable and they are bosses, that is, they are above us and they earn more than us, so maybe that’s the way.

Meanwhile, the trench in front also has its share of proverbs, such as: “Every pig has its San Martín”, “cheaters never win” or, simply, that it is not worth sleeping badly and treating others worse in exchange for success professional, right?


Let’s start with the bad news for those who bet on goodness.

Indeed, the despicable earn more money

The less ethical make more money according to the data

It may not be a good start to confirm the suspicion that yes, the “good guys” win less money than the unbearable, the complainers and those who push.

Normally, kinder people are less confrontational and try to be nice and get along with everyone, but that is not profitable according to the data.

However, someone can argue, with good judgment, that being like this does not mean being good, but incapable of daring, a soft person who does not raise his voice and demands his own. Be that as it may, the numbers continue to bring bad news.

If we talk about being more ethical, an indisputable quality when considering someone “good”, also makes you poorer.

I could leave it here and let that be the advice to improve our domestic economy and our professional career, but I wouldn’t be telling the whole story.

going beyond money

Remains of a shipwreck, which has a lot to do with whether being good pays off

Some say that in life there are more important things than money, and perhaps it is true. However, economists have always known that happiness is correlated with wealth (both at the country level and at the individual level).

And what’s more, that famous monetary limit that many cite from a 2010 study, from which more money does not equal more happiness, does not agree with the new data. The more you have, the happier you are and there does not seem to be a ceiling to the joy that the euros grantIt is what it is.

But let’s leave money for a moment and consider something more important, life itself.

For that, let’s travel in the Titanic and let us examine the curious analyzes of two other economists, David Savage and Bruno Frey, who set out to reveal whether one of the legends of the shipwreck was true: the fact that, while the British lined up neatly for the lifeboats, the Americans pushed, jumped and slipped through. as they could in any hole.

This led to the famous (and apocryphal) phrase of Captain Smith to his crew when contemplating it:

Be British, boys, be British.

Smith didn’t say that, but did the other anecdote was true?

Savage and Frey’s analysis concluded that, despite the fact that the Titanic was an English ship (and therefore likely biased towards saving more countrymen), the British were 10% less likely to survive than the other nationalities.

And the Americans? 12% more than the British.

For now, the data is clear: if you’re worthless, you’ll have more money than average and a better chance of surviving the Titanic.

They are not the only figures against kindness. If we look in more corners, los narcissists are more successful in their professional career (greater chances of being hired, promoted and paid more), anger conveys a sense of competence and neither men nor women show a predilection for modest men.

Finally, it seems that the solution to our domestic economy is to become unbearable and abandon any pretense of being good in a world that is not.

The complete picture of success

A lot of people collaborating for success

Despite the above, let’s try to have a global picture of the situation. At least that’s what he tried Adam Grant in his book Give and take.

In it, he tries to reveal the definitive answer to our concern, by analyzing a huge amount of data on success, covering a large number of sectors and situations.

Grant distinguishes three basic types of people in his works:

  • Those whose philosophy of life is to take for them everything they can regardless of others. I’ll call them “evil” for simplicity.
  • Those who always give to otherswhich I will call “good”, although many will call them soft.
  • Those who are in the middle and give and take depending on the situation, but, overall, they strike a balance between the two. They give to those who give and take from those who take, or do not collaborate with them if they find that attitude.

As well,who is below in terms of success economic, professional, etc?

The “good”which, moreover, end burned and exploited by the “wicked”always willing to take another piece of what the kind have.

On the contrary, who mostly populate the pinnacle of success in their respective fields?

According to Grant’s data, also the “good”. So that later they say that life no longer gives surprises.

Thus, it seems that the average figures do not belong to goodness, as we have also seen at the beginning, but its territory is the extremesboth for bad and for good.

Let’s see the reason for this curious phenomenon because, although it seems illogical, it actually makes a lot of sense.

Why the paradox of goodness and success occurs

This fact It doesn’t happen because the universe is a fair place.. Success has a base and a top made up, for the most part, of “good” people, according to Grant. Between those two pieces of the sandwich are the “evil” and those who take and give according to the situation. We are going to call the latter, the “balancers”.

Well, what happens is that they do not look kindly on the “evil”.

They are people who don’t go around pushing, but when they run into someone who takes and doesn’t give, respond in a similar way, thus retaliating against these, they take from them and push them down.

But what happens if they come across a “good” that gives? They also give and help, pushing up the kind.

Balancers are also selfishly interested in surrounding themselves with kind people, as it benefits them. In addition to that effect, the “bad guys” are incapable of cooperating with each otherhis nature is always to take, so that among evildoers there will be tripping eventually.

This creates a context in which the good guys with less luck meeting others are left behind. But, as there is a higher global percentage of balancers and good ones if you add everything up, a part of those charitable souls, with better fortune when it comes to running into others, It is seen in a favorable context where they are also given to them most of the time and that raises them up.

Meanwhile, the egoists find themselves in the opposite situation, an adverse and competitive environmentwhere the majority around you (balancers and other baddies) will mow the grass under your feet sooner or later.

Ultimately, life is unfair. but their mechanisms prevent those who only drink from reaching the top en masse.

Or when they arrive it is very difficult for them to maintainbefore running into balancers and other baddies who will conspire to take from them or respond to their selfishness in kind.

It is undeniable that there are despicable people at the top, after all, we are talking about large numbers and percentages, but someone who only drinks ends up living in a Byzantine courtfull of conspiracies and daggers in the shadows.

Although some take Grant’s thesis very with a grain of salt, the mathematical reality is consistent and here is one last spear for goodness, also according to the numbers: the good ones are better parents, have better friends, longer and more successful relationshipsas well as better health. Maybe it has nothing to do with what I have been hired to write, but a little yes.

And now that we have the data, each one will decide what suits them.

Source: El Blog Salmón by

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