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.
We want to change the way people help people. To do that, we need to continually improve the understanding of the needs of communities and causes of disadvantage. To do that, we actually need to guide people to mastering their own character in order to develop perspective that allows them to understand other people's circumstances.
On this mission, we have seen children being 'taught' disadvantage in a way that actually harms their capacity for resilience and real understanding, not through any bad intent, but through confusion as to the best way to develop understanding and agency for people of all ages.
If you, or anyone you know are looking to build character and resilience, or looking to have a meaningful impact in the world, enquire about our courses and opportunities for partnership below.
This week we have gotten angry about current proposals to allow discrimination in schools based on sexuality, and the continuing blatant mistreatment of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru.
With mental health day yesterday, we need to speak up to ensure that we create environments that foster inclusivity and opportunity for all, in order to provide avenues to improved mental health for everyone.
In Australia we are in a privileged position to be able to be lift people up, we can't allow our policies to be those that segregate, discriminate and keep people down.
To support our work providing avenues to opportunity from all walks of life, please subscribe here; for less than $10 a week you can help us ensure individuals and communities get proper housing, employment and good mental health.
We've come a long way with encouraging men to speak up about their poor mental health and to let people know when they are struggling.
But what are we doing after that?
The Just Be Nice Project is committed to not only improving the conversation around mental health, but also improving the access to the material support required to create environments where people can flourish.
You can support our work by subscribing and becoming a JBN Legend Here, we can't do it without the support of our amazing partners and subscribers.
Helping people feel good about doing good is an important element of engagement, but it cannot be the end-game to getting people involved in positive impact.
Is it easy to feel good about things that don't do that much good? Absolutely. Is that the best we can do? Absolutely not.
The end game, and point of help, should always be about what happens for the person in need. Teaching people what effective looks like for people in need, rather than finding ways to make people feel good about attempts at help, is the real future of helping people, help people.
Our work at the Just Be Nice Project is about harnessing the potential of every organisation and individual into effective impacts for those in need, while remaining engaging, relevant and worthwhile to those providing the help. There is a better way.
Creating extraordinary positive change in the world, by helping people make ordinary positive change.
People in need with cancer.
People in need facing extreme prejudice.
People in need of mixed abilities.
People in need without employment or a chance of employment.
People in need growing up in disadvantage.
People in need who are suffering economic distress.
People in need with mental health issues.
People in need without a place to live.
People in need who live overseas.
People in need who have inadequate education.
People in need who are sick.
People in need who fear for their lives.
People in need who look after people in need.
People in need with empty bellies.
People in need who have had a life of privilege and find themselves facing tough times.
People in need who have never had the privilege of a resource rich environment.
We see people in need.
Rather than fight about what cause is the most important, and argue among causes, we believe in creating an eco-system that works to help people in need.
It starts with an acknowledgement that people find themselves in need in many different ways, at many different times, for many different reasons. Rather than take the needs of any one community as more important than another, we consider the knowledge of one community about the most effective ways to help that particular community as important.
Fighting for causes too often means causes fighting against causes. We are here to fight inefficiency. We are here to fight inequality. We are here to fight for people in need.
We are not here to fight inequality with only a spreadsheet and a calculator, but we are also not here to fight inequality with only misguided good intentions and a short-lived peak in emotive interest. We are not here to do things the way that they have been done in the past, because we know that we can do better. We are here to fight alongside people who believe that we can do better. We are here to fight alongside people who are tired of seeing wasted money, time and good intentions.
We are here to fight for those in need.
We would love you to join that fight.
Imagine a scenario where you are in need of help.
Perhaps you are homeless, perhaps you are a struggling single parent.
You have been battling this scenario for many years, you have made efforts to improve your situation, but it is exceptionally difficult.
From time to time, over the years, people have popped in, asked for your story. They have listened, empathised, express sympathy. You have told them your story, your fears and difficulties.
It is emotional labour. Exhausting. You trust that they care.
Then they do one thing for you, maybe two… Maybe you never hear from them again.
Maybe after the story they don’t do anything.
Sometimes, after a big effort of help, for a period of time, when it all gets a bit much for the acquaintance or friend, when the service runs out of resources, or when the family lacks the material means to continue to assist.
Then, after the glimmer of hope. After the baring of your soul and exposing your most vulnerable fears and difficulties, nothing.
The promise of help, the promise of understanding and a feeling of connection and possibility.
Now imagine this happens over and over again.
And over and over again.
Eventually your ability to trust that good things can happen, that help is real and might work is damaged. Maybe irreparably.
When real help turns up, after all of these disappointments. When actual opportunity knocks, how would you have the capacity to not only recognise it, but to take it up wholeheartedly?
Consider if surgeons started surgery before they were confident that they knew what was wrong, or that they started doing surgeries without taking the time to do the training and learning about how to diagnose and perform surgery. Consider if they started operating before they had the resources to finish the surgery, stopping halfway and leaving you open and vulnerable on an operating table. We would consider that to be negligent, we would not consider ‘isn’t some surgery better than none’ to be an adequate excuse.
Likewise, sometimes rushing into ‘help’ without proper a proper understanding of what is happening, what is needed to help and the resources to help can be worse than waiting, taking your time and ‘not helping’ right away.
People in need, do indeed need people to be nice. We can all be nice, if we are already nice, we can all be nicer.
It is harder to do good.
Doing good requires time, dedication and resources. Doing good requires more time, but being nice can happen right now.
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel compelled to do good for someone in need, maybe take a moment to audit your capabilities and the needs of the person you are speaking to. Is it a moment to Be Nice, or is it a moment to Do Good? Be honest with yourself and with the person in front of you. How many botched surgeries would it take for you to distrust surgeons and perhaps end up avoiding life-changing or life-saving surgery because you'd been let down before? If that same surgeon had simply said,
"I don't know just now. I can't do anything right at this moment, but I am working to get the skills and resources together to be able to fix this for you or others in the future. Right now I can be nice, be understanding and apologise that the help that you need is not available. I can seek out people who may be able to help, but I'm not sure where they are or where to start. Right now, I can give you a coffee, a sympathetic ear and a moment of empathy and understanding. I am sorry that the help is not right here for you. I will help those who help others so that this does not remain a problem for ever."
In the future, the person needing help may indeed have the trust required to buy in to the help, when it finally arrives. Improving the process and outcomes for everyone.
We encourage everyone to be nice, on their own time, all the time. We help everyone to do good, ensuring that you become part of a process that provides the assistance that people need, when they need it, for as long as they need it.
If you'd like to be a part of the solution. Subscribe and get in touch below. We'd love to have you.
We tell people “It’s ok to not be ok” and that is true, it absolutely is.
We don’t tell people “It’s ok to be poor”
Because we know it’s not.
Not simply that it’s not ok for them. But that it’s not ok for us to know and do nothing.
It’s not ok if we acknowledge that we aren’t doing everything we can to create an environment where everyone has an equal chance of providing for themselves and the people they care about.
It’s not ok when we know that it is not simply a matter of ‘laziness’, or ‘not being engaged’, or ‘not caring’. The myth of the feckless poor is only an excuse for people to ignore the issues that disadvantaged communities and individuals face. We would do well to remind one another that poverty is not a lack of character, it’s a lack of cash.
Trickle-down economic policies that ignore the responsibility of those with to contribute to improving the lives of those without.
In a time of unprecedented economic success and growth, we have a responsibility to say that it’s not ok to be poor. We should be compelled to action to take responsibility for people that are doing it tough, dealing with the inequality of opportunity that affects the 2.9 million Australians that live below the poverty line. Over 1 in 10 Australians. Right now.
If we are going to be concerned with mental health outcomes, as we should be, we need to acknowledge the fact that economic distress is a huge factor in emotional and relationship stress and other mental health issues. Feelings of hopelessness, an inability to take control of your life and get after the things you want to achieve, deep and constant feelings of uncertainty, feeling inadequate because you are struggling to provide for the people you care about. These are all very real mental health issues that stem from economic distress.
It’s ok to not be ok. It’s not ok for us to not do anything about the factors that lead people to struggle in the first place.
Just Be Nice. Be Good. Do Good.
In Italy, as of 2016, stealing a small amount of food in a moment of necessity is not a crime.
This came off the back of a case involving a man at a supermarket who paid for breadsticks and attempted to leave with cheese and sausages in his pocket, to the value of €4.07. He was initially sentenced to a €100 fine and 6 months imprisonment.
The court found that the food was taken "in the face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment", ruling that in this case "humanity is more important than punishment, that the right to survival prevails over property". The Italian Court of Cassation judgement "reminds everyone that in a civilised country not even the worst of men should starve".
In how many other instances can we argue for the right for survival over property? What would be the implications for taking this view further, and would they be positive? Considering this, How might we be able to address the issue of empty investment properties, squatting, unaffordable medications and waiting lists for essential services that are months long? Rather than an adversarial, legislative imperative created in courtrooms, is it possible to create a culture in the community that see's the right to survival as an important right for all of us? If we had a cultural imperative to look after one another, how might we then manage our resources for the good of us all, taking into account the needs, desires and expectations of both property owners and those in need.
Given the strength of each person’s sense of self-preservation, is six months in prison and a €100 fine really a deterrent to a starving man? Does the cost of arrest, prosecution and holding this man in remand & prison really justify not simply having mechanisms in place to ensure he never has to steal €4 of food in the first place? Do situations like this encourage us to look for prevention and support systems over and above intervention and punishment systems?
1 in 10 people in Italy are unemployed, if there aren’t enough jobs for 10% of the population to work, should it be the responsibility of the remainder of the employed population to contribute to their upkeep while the economy rallies? We believe that it makes sense, not only morally, but fiscally. By engaging and effectively managing resources, we are able to provide for people in need without it necessarily costing more than prison, courts, policing, hospitalisations or late-stage interventions. Consider even the cost to the supermarket to pursue this man for a crime. If it takes a few moments of their time to answer questions, surely that costs more in wages than the €4 of food in his pocket. Perhaps even the margins on the food he paid for, contributes to the cost of the food he was unable to pay for.
At the Just Be Nice Project, we create innovative ways to assist in the management of property and distribution of excess and available resources to those in need. With voluntary contributions and engagement from our partners, we are working towards a day when people in need, get the help they need, when they need it, for as long as they need it. Regardless of how they come into hardship in the first place.
We agree. “In a civilised country, not even the worst of men should starve.”
Values alignment is a waste of time, what matters is how you execute your values, and whether you consistently do what is required to build character. If you have a lovely set of values and never action them, you might as well not have values in the first place. If you find values-alignment in a person or organisation you need to make sure that you express those values in the same way, or you are still going to find conflict.
Look for character in others, develop it in yourself and reap the benefit of building resilience, a greater sense of self and a more fulfilling environment around you than simply looking to align something as lightweight as values.
If you are looking to find ways to develop actionable principles and form character for you, other individuals or your organisation, get in touch and we will contact you regarding our Character-Led program.
You matter, We care and remember to Just Be Nice.
Just Be Nice
A collection of articles relevant to pursuing the effective execution of altruism in the search for equality of opportunity.