Remember the old adage “nice guys finish last”?
It ends up that it’s not always true. Especially when you replace the word “nice” with “popular”. Because weren’t the most popular kids in school the nicest ones? (Don’t answer that… just go with the concept here).
A study from the University of Chicago and University of Essex has done some analysis, and they’ve decided that it’s not the brainy, nerdy kids that succeed later in life (as we are all often led to believe), but in reality it’s THE POPULAR KIDS WHO WILL EARN MORE MONEY OVER TIME.
The survey looked at around 10,000 people in high school who were asked to fill out “friendship nominations”, naming their closest friends at the time. Years later, the researchers went back over who voted the most and who received the most “nominations” to see if there were any trends.
What they found was that the more popular a classmate was (that is, received the most friendship nominations), the higher earnings potential that person had later in life.
In other words — it really did pay to be nice and to be everybody’s friend. Those skillsets were likely what benefited the students in life as they got older and entered the Real World, where people stopped being polite and started being real.
How much more money did the friendly, popular kids make over the years? About 2% more than their peers. And if you looked at the bottom percentile of popularity and compared it to the more popular percentiles, the salary range difference was about 10%.
So parents – if you want your kids to earn more money than you as they get older, teach them to be nicer to everybody they meet. That sincerity will pay off in dividends for both of you later.