We live in an age where everyone’s able to ‘communicate’, and I use the term loosely, with one another across the globe with more ease than at any time in the history of the world. We also live in a time of unprecedented stress, anxiety and feelings of disconnection.
Why then, in a world that is “flat and hyper-connected” are we feeling more and more isolated and out of touch with ourselves and the world around us?
Michael Pollan, in his docuseries ‘Cooked’ explains how the traditional way of baking bread created a nutritious staple that for thousands of years provided sustenance to many. Hijacked by efficiency, profit and the mass-market, ‘white bread’ came to be popular with the advent of Wonderbread. This highly processed, nutrient poor, very popular item took the place of the more traditional sourdough over time. We then re-introduced exogenous vitamins and minerals into it to boost its nutrition profile, creating a poor facsimile of what was already, originally, a formula for nutritious, tasty and healthy food.
As society barrels towards the deification of ‘apps’, ‘insta-celebrity’ and smart phones, we are attempting simultaneously to reintroduce humanity to principles that we’ve done naturally for thousands of years.
Mindfulness, time alone, wearable step counters, apps for meditation, apps to remind you to say hello to your mother, apps to connect you to people that need help. All of these are poor imitations of things we have been doing for time immemorial.
We didn’t used to have constant stimulation, we operated in daylight hours, or by firelight. We didn’t watch TV constantly. We wouldn’t simply ‘post’ stories to the masses. We would become caretakers of myths and the songlines of people before us for the next generation and share stories with each other. We didn’t need ‘grounding’ we just played outside. We didn’t need an app to remind us to say hello to our neighbours, we engaged with them, cooked with them, ate with them, spoke with them. We didn’t need an electronic device on our wrist to count our steps, we simply walked where we needed to go. Communities and amenities were close, and ironically, communal. We didn’t need apps for meditation, because downtime was a natural occurrence. Seasons of the year allowed for variation in the kind of work we did, the environments we operated in and the challenges we faced together as a community. If we go back beyond the industrial age, ‘single parenting’ fades into irrelevance because the village community took responsibility for everyone in it.
We are not more connected, we simply have an inappropriate amount of availability masquerading as connection. We aren’t creating environments that curate connection, we are promoting environments that curate attention.
The problem with availability and isolation as a result of the industrialisation of human interactions will not be solved by an ‘app’. More niche variations on the deference of human interaction to screens will not improve our mental health or understanding of each other.
The answer lies in taking responsibility for one another. Taking responsibility means taking the time to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by people outside of ourselves. Taking responsibility means an active engagement with the people and places around us. It means placing a priority on human connection, not digital attention.
Let’s not try and add the vitamins back into the white bread of human interaction, let’s take a moment to slow down and do things the way they have been done for the vast majority of human history, let’s take responsibility for one another, look after one another and of course, just be nice.
If you wish to support our work bringing tangible support to communities and individuals in need, or need help with strategies and programs to look after those in your organisation, get in touch, become a partner, book a workshop or subscribe and be a part of changing the way people help people.
What if supporting children made them lazy and dependent on help from others?
What if they only look for help and support because they want to avoid hard work and responsibility in the future?
What if by helping, guiding, supporting and building up children we are only teaching them to be reliant on others, bludge and take no responsibility for themselves?
Obviously this is ridiculous. We know that children need support and care, they need help, encouragement, love, food, education, shelter, safety, clothing, friends, activities to maximise their physical and mental capabilities and engaging moments.
Why then, do we not simply remove the word 'children' and replace it with 'people'.
People need support in various moments through their whole lives, support from loved ones, support from community, support from government institutions and safety nets, support from people they interact with.
If you delay that environment for humans, if they grow up in disadvantage, in fear and without support, it can take longer to fill those gaps when they are older.
Supporting people doesn't make them weak, it doesn't make them bludgers, it doesn't make them reliant on others.
Supporting humans helps them to be the best they can be, and a world full of people being their very best is one we are constantly striving to create.
We believe that everyone deserves comprehensive, long-term support, when they need it. Building an infrastructure that ensures everyone in need gets the opportunity to relevant and engaging employment, housing and good mental health outcomes, regardless of how they came to need help in the first place.
Possibilities to live into, not expectations to live up to.
Still, we need your help. Subscribe, support or get in touch to get involved in changing the way people and businesses help people.
Equality, diversity, development and curation of opportunity is an active process.
It requires long-term comprehensive efforts to, at the very least;
1. Curate relevant opportunities.
2. Help communities understand and engage with these opportunities.
3. Provide wraparound services to communities to facilitate the engagement.
4. Have lines of dynamic communication ensuring the resources available are of the most benefit to the communities being developed and those supporting/providing the opportunities.
5. Have a diverse range of opportunities available, and allow for individuals to explore various avenues to fulfillment, employment and engagement so that they can make well-informed, relevant decisions and commit to pathways of development.
If we don’t have this as a minimum requirement for development of social outcomes we will continue to miss the mark for those in need.
The Just Be Nice Project is the only comprehensive multi-stage, multi-industry platform for developing and managing outcomes between enterprise and those in need, so get in touch if you’re looking to leave your positive impact on the world and open doors to those who otherwise would miss out.
Wrapping up the weekend in NSW and clearly One nation taking 6% of the primary vote in NSW is not the kind of result I’d like to see in Australian Politics. Particularly given the events of the last couple of weeks. However, rather than bang on about that right away, I think it highlights a need for more access to less confirmation bias for all sides of the socio-political spectrum.
We'll give away this free tip for the next innovation on Linkedin Twitter and Facebook because I strongly believe that until we do a better job of understanding the beliefs and anxieties of those we don’t agree with, we will not be able to move the needle effectively.
We need to listen more, learn better and discuss with each other in a more productive way if we are going to have any chance of improving equality of opportunity for all.
We work towards these outcomes with The Just Be Nice Project every single day. If you or your organisation are looking for ways to better understand each other and improve the lives of those in need, get in touch. My gratitude will be boundless as always. We cannot continue to change the way people help people without your support.
In the aftermath of one of the most horrific acts of violence seen on this side of the globe, we have to double down on our capacity to understand and support all communities.
Fear, whether from sources real or imagined, is a powerful devisive force in communities. We need to take the time to understand the source of fear in our communities and work to allay these anxieties and support people through their concerns so that we can all eventually support one another fully.
A rising tide lifts all boats, we need to ensure everyone is benefiting from the wonderful resources and opportunities we have in this country and prevent those who would take out their frustrations on the most vulnerable from doing so.
Eggs, unfortunately, are not the answer. In this moment, more than ever, we need more understanding. We need to be considered, grown up, rational and supportive. Division is never going to lead to cohesion, the harder people try to pull everyone apart, the tighter we must hold onto one another and ensure no one gets left behind.
If you are looking to improve your character as individuals and culture as a collective, you need to be looking in the right spot, asking and answering the right questions and building understanding in a way that makes sense to you. It’s not always easy, it can be confronting, but it is always worth it.
Get in touch to begin the process now and kick off 2019 with open minds, open hearts and a commitment to excellence as humans. You deserve to be the best you can be and we believe the world needs you to be the best you can be too.
After several conversations with people after our response to the Gillette video, Just Be Nice Project Founder - Josh steps up to discuss a way forward.
Yes, the video is longer than the recommended digestible length for social media, but maybe the discussion of masculinity, character and being good men needs more than 90 seconds of our time.
Rather than always speaking about what being a good man isn't, let's start a discussion about what we think a good man is.
Let's decide on what kinds of behaviour and character we are going to support and promote, and build a culture of strong, engaged, interested, caring, intelligent, open and understanding men.
What does it mean to be a man to you? What kind of men would you like to see? What does positive masculinity look like to you, in a future where we have communities of people that look out for one another, who open doors for one another, who lift each other up and ensure everyone feels safe and supported?
Moving forward requires looking forward, so let's set some aspirations to improve equality of opportunity for all, and help everyone be the best they can be.
While an ad from a razor company has caused a bit of a stir over the last few days, we ask, what is wrong with being the best a man can get?
Wherever possible we should look at opportunities for excellence as opportunities. Areas to improve as possibilities, not only criticisms. We should take responsibility not only for ourselves, but for those around us and help them be better.
We should relish the chance to be better, and move towards that together, following those that do a good job and lending a helping hand and a truckload of understanding to those that need a hand.
If you are looking for ways to help educate yourselves, your workplaces, schools or communities on how to tackle these developmental and conversational hurdles, get in touch. We'd to have a chat about how working with the JBNProject helps improve equality of opportunity for all.
We aren't here to demonise for-profit or non-profit organisations. We are here to demonise waste.
We don't believe that good will is more important than good skill for people in need.
We believe that we can change the way that people help people, but we need your help, if you or your organisation are looking to have a more significant and relevant impact in the world, get in touch.
To talk about empowerment without talking about development is a pitfall that we are mindful of. There is no good pathway to diversity and inclusion until we relentlessly develop and maintain relevant development pathways for diverse communities. Without investment in developing these communities, we are only paying lip-service to the idea of a diverse and inclusive future.
If you are serious about improving inclusivity, diversity and keen to hear about the developmental possibilities for your organisation or workplace, get in contact and we will discuss the options to help you build an environment that is really empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality of opportunity for all.
Just Be Nice
A collection of articles relevant to pursuing the effective execution of altruism in the search for equality of opportunity.