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03 June 2010

More Mr Nice Guy

If you want to succeed in life you have to look after your own interests first, right!? Wrong! Science shows that we have evolved to be compassionate and cooperative.

Many of us were brought up to believe that the world is a rough, dog-eat-dog sort of place. Men especially are led to think that the way to get to the top of the pile, be it at school, on the sports field, or in business, is to look after themselves first and to be aggressive, tough and competitive. It’s the survival of the fittest. That is, after all, how we evolved as a species. Darwin told us so. Right?!

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the old man had a valid point. It would appear that we were actually hardwired to be kind. According to US psychologist Dacher Keltner, the co-director of the University of California Bekeley’s Greater Good Science Centre [http://greatergood.berkeley.edu], “evolution has crafted a species – us – with remarkable tendencies towards kindness, play, generosity, reverence and self-sacrifice, which are vital to the classic tasks of evolution – survival, gene replication and smoothly functioning groups.”

 
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