I am sitting in an airport right now, waiting for a flight back home. It’s been a wonderful trip so far, a few days of conferences, meetings, presentations, time with my goddaughter and even a gala dinner. A wonderful trip to Sydney and one I will remember for a long time.
I checked in early after what seemed like the lightest traffic in Sydney that I’ve seen in 10 years, had a great Uber driver and all in all things were going well.
Then I went to the line to go through security.
The security line at Sydney domestic airport has multiple entries, you can walk right past your check-in lane and walk down the back and join the line there (which I did) or you can come from the other side (from other carriers), or walk in the middle, where there are four or five lanes that converge in the same spot.
For some reason this time I happened to be one of the first ones to enter at this point in time from the check-in gates side.
A woman, who was now maybe one spot behind me as I merge into the line looks up from her phone
“Ummm the line is over there”
I said “actually the line starts in all of these places”
“Well not this line. This line starts there.” Pointing back to the middle entry.
“I'm sorry, are you serious?”
“The line starts over there”
“Ok, no problems.”
So I sauntered over to the back of the line. She went back to her phone and greasing me off like I was some kind of rule breaking maniac. Props to the guy who was lined up in-front of her (and was behind me for a brief time) that gave me a knowing “sheesh” in solidarity over the rudeness.
Meanwhile, as soon as she was past the merge point of the two lines, she conveniently ignored the point that was so important to her only seconds beforehand as the line filled up from people merging the lines, as they always do.
And that’s the bit that bothered me.
If you only hero things that affect you directly, you are an asshole.
If you feel so strongly about the integrity of the line, she could have easily looked at the person behind her and given them the same eyeroll, the same lecture and demanded that they went to the back of the line, but she didn’t because it no longer affected her.
These kinds of people are so frustrating, vocal, indignant and even rude about their self-centred inconveniences and then they go missing later on. It is a frustration that I see all the time.
I actually didn’t mind going to the back of the line, I wasn’t really inconvenienced, I had heaps of time before my flight, and as karma does, this rude woman was held up for a bomb detection scan and I got through the security at the same time as her anyway.
It is the fact that we allow people to maintain a narrow, self centered view of the world, and place over emphatic importance on inconvenience in their own lives, at the expense of others. This woman was quite happy to inconvenience me 15 spots in the line, to improve her convenience by 1 spot. Holding up imaginary rules that she made up on the spot and then promptly forgot once she was past her own inconvenience. By the time we went through the scanners that same line was probably 30 people deep.
Anyway, obviously I am fine, I will board the plane have a great flight and go to my wonderful home, it hasn’t ruined my zen because I just nodded, smiled and went to the back of the line. I was wearing a t-shirt that said JustBeNice on it after all! I just ask that if you see your friends acting like self-centered assholes you call them out on it, so they don’t ruin anyone elses zen.
If you find your zen being attacked, simply remember that we are all essentially the same, each with out own problems and remember that the only thing you can actually control is how you act. Be considerate of others, look at the world through the eyes of people around you, encourage compassion and consideration in those around you and remember that if it isn't a big deal, it isn't a big deal. So be cool, keep your zen together.... and then blog about it later.
Sneaky shoutout to Virgin Australia as well for always providing outstanding service whenever I travel, I am fortunate to have always had fantastic experiences, when I am flying. Legends.
Keep smiling, stay zen, and as always, just be nice.
-Josh Reid Jones
Ever heard someone say they 'want to start a business' but they don't know what the business is?
How about if someone wanted to be a professional athlete, but wasn't sure what sport?
There are other questions to ask yourself before you jump into the deep end of starting a business. There are better discussions we can have with people before they go out on their own.
Be patient, be good and as always, just be nice.
Read. This. Book.
Only if you want to get a good understanding of what it takes to actually achieve things that matter, and to achieve things that are unique to your own abilities.
First of all, I loved this book. It spoke to me intuitively and discussed some really interesting research, case studies and theories that gave substance to some concepts that I already felt like I was aware of. Like getting permission to do things a certain way that you’d always kind of done them.
What is deep work?
Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capacities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.
Deep work is about taking things to a level of concentration and efficacy that is near impossible to achieve without a conscious effort to do. Removing the distractions, not having 37 tabs open on your browser, sitting in an open plan office, having your phone going off next to you while thinking about what to make for lunch.
There is a lot of gold in this book, so if you are one of the people that wonders how some high achievers seemingly get 10 times more done that other people, even though we all have the same number of hours in the day, then check this one out.
The secret, along with most secrets, is consistency, dedication, focus, direction and lack of distraction. It’s a boring secret, but it is the secret to success in virtually every endeavour, anyone looking for a ‘quick fix’ might need to give this a miss, although by applying these principles you will no doubt reduce the amount of time it takes you to achieve your goals as you head there on a straight line, not taking distraction detours along the way.
Deep work output also differs from regular work, the application of deep work principles allows you to “Learn hard things” and Produce work at an elite level”. The output is different, the ability to create groundbreaking, world changing work is absolutely enhanced by the application of deep work principles. Allowing better work to be produced in a shorter amount of time.
Rather than focus on busyness Newport wants us to focus on output, removing distractions as they not only inhibit our ability to complete the task at hand, but they inhibit our ability to regularly get into a deep state of concentration. There are multiple strategies in the book to combat these issues. Planning deep work/no distraction time, blocking out time where you do not use the internet, scheduling your days around your output. These things allow us to do better, more meaningful work and achieve more. Ironically, it also can allow for more free time as the deep work times are so productive that one can take more completely free time rather than try and be ‘busy’ 24/7.
I recommend reading this one, so I won’t go through the whole book, it is written with beautiful economy and is an easy read. Practical explanations and great, useful strategies make the whole read worthwhile and it doesn’t take long. My favourite anecdote in it however is the discussion of what it means to actually be an expert in a field. Noting that SQL programming (a form of database management programming) is highly valuable but highly complicated. It requires a deep level of understanding, solid analytical skills and a lot of concentration to execute well. That in schools, the use of iPads to do homework and submitting projects via YouTube has as much relevance to programming/analytical computing value as playing with hot wheels cars has to being a race car driver.
We need to teach the principles of concentration, expertise, deep analytical thought if we want to improve the opportunities of future generations to solve complex problems, because in the real world, that kind of focus and output is actually highly valuable. Distraction doesn’t just limit output at the time of distraction, it leads to further difficulties with actually concentrating on anything at all. Practice deep work and get better at life.
Once again, I strongly recommend this book. Read it, apply it, be better and as always, Just Be Nice.
For more on Author Cal Newport you can check out his blog HERE
I saw a friend of mine on social media the other day get told that someone thought it was dumb to post photos or look at photos of her with her ex-boyfriend from years ago. Apart from the fact it ended up being a bit of a popcorn worthy comment fest on the photos it got me thinking.
Denying your past is one of the quickest ways to lose your present self.
I’m 30, and I have ex-girlfriends. I know, sounds like a silly thing to even have to say, but it’s true, sometimes we act like we never had them, but we pretty much all did.
The concept of exes is a strange one, they are these people with whom you were inextricably close, sharing intimate moments, secrets, smiles and cries…. And then one day, you just aren’t that any more.
Sometimes the ends of these relationships can be explosive, sometimes they fizz out, sometimes you are the instigator, and sometimes they come at you out of the blue completely unawares. At the end of a relationship you might be elated, or you could find yourself in the deepest pit of misery that appears to have no way out.
I never understood why some of my female friends would go out with men that were ‘bad for them’, until I went out with the female equivalent. Intelligent, funny, quick witted, a big heart and incredible chemistry. We had such intense good times that I was taken aback by the whole thing… As is often the case in the yin/yang of the universe, we also had intense bad times.
What is it about that kind of relationship that keeps you in it? The strange feeling that when someone can get that level of intensity out of you it’s because they understand you better than anyone else? Because the good is so good you take the time to ignore the bad? I don’t really know. All I know is I have been there, and I wouldn’t ever deny that experience.
I have had wonderful, caring and beautiful partners and we have drifted apart, or come to loggerheads over certain things that become irreconcilable after a while and we have split up. I don’t think any less of them for not being the person that I will spend the rest of my life with, why should I? Why should anyone else?
Denying that we had good times, that we cared, that we shared intimate moments, thoughts and feelings is denying huge parts of my own emotional development. I would never hide or be embarrassed of photos of my ex, because each one of them shaped who I am today. Without learning from the mistakes that have been made in the past how can we be better for future partners?
We are all the sum of our experiences. For everyone who is single (excluding tragedy), we are all at 100% fail rates in our relationships, if you simply take it as a binary relationship on/off measurement. Or we are all further in our journeys to work out who we are and who we’d like to spend our time with. In high school you learn lessons around holding hands in public and remembering birthdays, as a grown up you learn that about sharing chores, making people feel loved and who to invite to family functions.. among a million other things. It’s an evolution, just as you are.
Own the photos of your exes, for better or worse they inform the people that we are today. Especially the ones that still hold some fond memories for you. Some exes were shitty, but they helped teach you to stay away from the bad ones (hopefully).
Own your past, the good bad and indifferent. Only by acknowledging where we come from are we able to truly understand and own our present selves.
Be loving, be forgiving and as always Just Be Nice.
- Josh Reid Jones
Tim Ferriss is a prolific podcaster, writer and ‘life-hacker’. Shooting to fame with his first book “The 4 Hour Workweek”, Tim has written several books since, all focusing on extracting maximum results out of minimum amounts of time.
Tools of Titans is a book that summarises discussions that Tim has had with various people of influence on his podcast and is broken into three sections; Healthy, Wealthy and Wise. At the beginning he recommends “How to read the book”, basically take in what interests and engages you, and feel free to “skip liberally” over the bits that don’t grab your attention. I read the book cover to cover, although it’s a good style of book to just pick up and thumb through when you’re just killing some time, or want to look up something in particular. It would be simple enough to skip large chunks of it and still get a lot of enjoyment out of the whole thing.
There are some really great guests on Tim’s podcast, so there is a high calibre of people in this book. Its also much longer than I thought it would be, at nearly 700 pages it’s a big beast but the text is large and in Tim’s notetaking style, so there are a lot of dot points and question/answer style paragraphs which make it read like you are looking in on a bunch of conversations.
Tim is generous with his information, and his guests are as well. It is a hallmark of successful people that they often have very little problem with sharing their stories, mostly because
1. They’ve already done it and
2. You probably wont.
I have to go out on a limb here and say that Tim is a self confessed flakey dude. He cannot remain focused on any one thing for too long, so he flits from project to project and life-hack to life-hack. I have seen lots and lots of people try to ‘hack’ their way to success, using shortcuts and hot tips and tricks to try and skip out on the reality that pretty much every successful person that Tim has interviewed has been through decades of hard work and dedication to get where they are. There are plenty of copycat Tim’s around, trading off interviewing successful people as some kind of way to become successful themselves, but I am personally more interested in the promotion of long periods of time, dedication and development to become a leader in your field.
Having said that, Tim’s guests are great, some of his health tips are interesting and there is a lot of good wisdom inside the pages of the book. The tips I find the most helpful from people like Tim and the experts are around the software they use, the breakdown of their days, and hearing again and again that 99% of the time it takes a long f*#king time and heaps of hard work to achieve anything worth mentioning.
If you get a chance to check it out, it’s a good flick through, I’m sure anyone interested in what the leaders in various fields do would get a lot out of it, and if you are looking to take a handful of good tips to improve your own productivity, output and enjoyment of life, then it certainly has plenty of those…. Alongside a lot of discussion of psychedelics and the positive effects of their regular use!
Maybe grab a friends copy and have a thumb through and see if you’d like it permanently on your bookshelf, you can listen to the podcasts free if you are super interested in any of his guests too!
Keep learning, keep hacking and as always, Just Be Nice.
- Josh Reid Jones
This VLOG is a little different to some of the others, because it is filmed in one take to document a particular experience.
It is just one take, to show that it is OK to not be OK all the time. Really. It can seem like its the people that always have their lives all together that are telling others to be OK, or on the other side of the coin, that there are people who seem constantly plagued by difficulty who talk about it the loudest. Everyone has their moments, everyone has times of doubt or sadness.
I thought today that I would simply show without editing, that there are times, or things that strike an emotional chord with you and can upset you, and that's OK.
Today is a difficult day for a young friend of mine, and rather than simply say "It's alright to be upset when you are feeling down" I thought I would lead by example, go first, and put it out there. Talking about a time in my life when I needed a little push to be able to allow my emotions to come to the surface. It's not easy, but that's why it is important.
Feel free to share this wherever you think someone needs to hear it or see it, and thank you for taking the time to watch it.
For more information on how to have good conversations with your friends visit www.ruok.org.au
If you need support, or someone to speak to you can contact these organisations
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Happy International Womens Day 2017!
Such a great opportunity to celebrate the great achievements and contributions of women all across the world, and to use it as an avenue to discuss the ways in which we can improve the equality of opportunity for women of all ages, in all areas, worldwide.
Lets not use the day to argue about what 'brand' of feminism is better or worse, lets use it to work closer to the common goal of all feminists, which is equality among the sexes.
Big shoutout to all the amazing and supportive women I've had in my life, especially my beautiful mum who has not only given me life, but given me a life through her love and support.
Happy International Womens Day! Lots of love all round!
This week I saw an Australian Senator say on television that if you believe in the tenets of a certain religion, then there is no place for you in this country.
The senator was Jacquie Lambie, the show was Insiders and the religion was Islam (clip here https://youtu.be/o63FGy3mPWI)
Ok, so, lets unpack some potential ramifications of holding this position, because I am not satisfied with politicians and agitators cherry picking their positions on various religions, races or sexes.
In basic terms, Senator Lambie said that if you want to follow Islam then you should live in another country, and not Australia. Based on your religious beliefs, and their incompatibility with the Australian way of life, according to her there is no place for you in Australian society.
First of all, this is absolutely a form of discrimination, religious bigotry in full effect, pointed very directly at Muslims. But I want to take it a it further…. If you take the position that we want to start discriminating against people because of their religious beliefs, then It follows that you must believe that being religious does not necessarily mean that you are a good person. Piety is not a condition that guarantees that you do the right thing, or put the country’s constitution and laws first, ahead of faith.
But… It might surprise some people to know that if organisations who are ‘advancing religion’ have an opportunity to apply for tax benefits as a charity. Currently advancing religion is enough of a purpose to become a charity and thereby avoid income tax, GST and Fringe Benefits Tax, among other tax benefits. It is assumed in Australia, that advancing religion, not any particular religion per se, but Advancing Religion is on par with Advancing Education and Advancing Social and Public Welfare as a charitable outcome.
If we take Jacquie’s stance that simple adherence to the second largest religion on the planet is contrary to Australian values, then surely we must remove “advancing religion” as an avenue to tax exemption or DGR Status (Deductable Gift Recipient Status)?
By saying that you believe Islam to be detrimental to the Social and Public Welfare of Australia, you are effectively saying that religion, in and of itself, is not a positive thing.
So let’s tax religion.
The religious institutions in Australia are sitting on billions of dollars of infrastructure, investments and property holdings all over the country, tax free. Having Advancing Religion as an opportunity to not pay tax, is costing the country hundreds of millions, if not billions of revenue, locked up in religious organisations. Revenue that could be shifted to organisations that advance social welfare and education perhaps.
Some people might be thinking “But wait I go to church and I think it’s good, they shouldn’t have to pay tax.”
So let’s look at what a religion actually is so we know what we are talking about.
As part of the High Court case New Faith v Commissioner of Payroll Tax (1983), the Court held that "For the purposes of the law, the criteria of religion are twofold:
first, belief in a Supernatural Being, Thing or Principle; and
second, the acceptance of canons of conduct in order to give effect to that belief, though canons of conduct which offend against the ordinary laws are outside the area of any immunity, privilege or right conferred on the grounds of religion."
That’s right, belief in the supernatural is not only an opportunity for tax exemption, IT IS A PRE-REQUISITE.
Others still love their particular religion so might think taxing religion is a dumb idea.
Which is fine, but then stop complaining about Islam. You are taking the side of the government and the ATO, that the advancement of religion, any religion, let alone the second most popular religion on the planet, is a good enough reason to be listed next to advancing social good. It is not, therefore, a reason to then detain, deport or discourage people from coming to; or living in, Australia. Full stop. Pick a side.
A quick check of various YouTube videos and Facebook posts will reveal what appears to be at times an overwhelming sentiment “But all Muslims are terrorists”, “I don’t see any Christians beheading people”, “Islam is trying to destroy the country”, “Sharia Law is trying to make everyone do terrible things to everyone else”
Let’s unpack that sentiment for a minute, looking at the negative social impact of a couple of religious institutions.
There have been 4 noted ‘Islamic’ terrorist attacks in Australia since we have been concerned with the Islamic terrorist threat in 2001.
Endeavour Hills stabbings (2014), Sydney hostage crisis (2014) ,2015 Parramatta shooting, Minto stabbing (September 2016). Now these have been noted as acts of terror, and there are some conjectures about the mental stability of some of these offenders and whether these are really acts of overt terror because of Islamic beliefs, or predominantly the work of mentally unwell individuals who have foreign sounding names. They have not been harboured in Australian institutions, and indeed we have an issue with Australians going overseas to join the Islamic State in other countries fighting for extremist views.
No doubt about it, in the world, there are religious extremists. Islamic, Christian, Hindu all over the world. They incite people to violence and pose a real threat. Our law enforcement agencies so far have done a fantastic job of protecting us from the impact of such threats.
Looking only at the impact of Islamic terrorism is not telling the full story however. In Australia, sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has been so serious and systematically covered up over the past 40 years, that a Royal Commission was created to investigate these crimes.
As a result of this enquiry “Nearly 2,000 Catholic Church figures, including priests, religious brothers and sisters, and employees, were identified as alleged perpetrators in a report released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.”
“In her opening address, Gail Furness SC said a survey revealed 4,444 allegations of incidents of abuse between January 1980 and February 2015 were made to Catholic Church authorities”
I had to get the calculator out, because that seems like a lot and my mental arithmetic isn’t great. That works out to nearly 127 allegations EVERY SINGLE YEAR FOR 35 YEARS. Nearly 2.5 a week for the entire 35 years. That's 4,444 allegations of abuse inside institutions of Jacquie Lambies own identified faith.
So, advancing religion? A great cause? A cause that in and of itself can stand beside advancing education and social and public welfare?
If you want to entertain the idea of persecuting people and limiting their opportunities based on their behaviour not lining up with “Australian Law” “Australian Values” or the “Australian Constitution” then I think we should apply that filter evenly across all religious institutions, and all citizens and see where that leaves us.
If you aren’t comfortable applying that logic evenly across the whole sector, then stop singling out Muslims as being some intrinsically evil institution. Most religions preach tolerance, love and looking out for each other… Not all practitioners do a good job of following these beliefs. Extremism and opportunism in any form can lead to acts that defy logic and have terrible consequences.
We need to prevent extremist actions, for any reason, through the promotion of equality of opportunity and providing avenues to upward mobility to any and everyone who lives in Australia. This is the best way to ensure any disenfranchised member of society feels that they have a place and an opportunity to get ahead without having to resort to extreme views to feel a sense of belonging or importance.
If Jacquie is to stand by her words that “It’s either one or the other, you either show your allegiance to Australian Law and the Australian Constitution but you can’t have 50/50” then let’s apply it equally rather than fear mongering towards the Islamic community. If we are to continue to talk about banning Muslims then we need to talk about removing advancing religion as a charitable outcome and tax the institutions. If we are not prepared to change the charitable status of Churches and other organisations, then we must stop the discussion discriminating against Muslims right now.
Be respectful, be thoughtful, be fair, and as always, Just Be NIce.
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports