Book One – On Being Nice by the School of Life

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On Being Nice

Well, it’s day Two of my adventures and when I arrived yesterday lunchtime at this awesome little campsite (Little Yabba Park, Cambroon, QLD) I immediately unplugged from the world. Not by choice mind you, as there is ZERO phone signal here and for which anyone who knows me will attest that’s akin to my leg being ripped off, that said, I have just completed book one… already… wowsers.

Oh when I say there is no phone signal here I mean zip, nothing, I even have a Cell-fi GO phone booster and I have nothing. That’s Australia’s phone service for ya šŸ˜›

Anyway, back to the book, On Being Nice by the School of Life. I found the book interesting, a little on the basic side, almost like it was written for someone with no emotional intelligence. I had hoped that when I saw it I would glean some magical insight into how to be a better person, what I got was a series of how-to’s for a beginner and while I think the lessons put forward by the authors are fantastic for anyone starting out being nice. For someone a little further down the line this was a little too elementary for me. At least I think I am.

“What I am lacking is the finer nuances of giving a fuck”

Little Yabba Creek

For the most part I am already practising these principles, what I am lacking is the finer nuances of giving a fuck. I mean that seriously, I just don’t care about hurting one’s feelings, I don’t go out and deliberately do so, but I live by the notion ‘that you do you’ and as long as we don’t attempt to harm others we’ll all just get along just fine.

I wonder if we all just took care of our own needs, wants and desires, then surely part of that would be not to harm nor be harmed by anyone else; would this make for a better world? The supply your own mask first mentality. Sure, charity and love for the well-being of another are of great importance, but if you think about it, if we’re all a little nicer to each other, and furthermore to this planet, would we have such a need? would world poverty, the widening gap between the haves and have not be so large? Never in my life have I seen how big that gap is than during the Covid-19 pandemic. This virus affected the whole world in one way or another, albeit through sickness, death, economic loss or some other impact.

My wife and I bought the bookshop right in the middle of the first year of Covid-19 when the world was starting to realise the enormity of what was going on. This was a big risk sure, but we had a plan, we executed that plan, and somehow, we came out the other side a little better than we went in. During this time, I personally saw the fiscal disparity in the wider community, while some lost their jobs and could no longer buy books (they went to the library instead) others were out there in their expensive cars on road trips to the hinterland spending big bucks like they were trying to dispose of it as fast as they could. Like spending $900 on a book kinda spending.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am super appreciative of this buyer, however, it was not lost on me how some seemed to have thrived while others did not. What I am trying to say is if we spend more time making sure everyone has enough, we’ll all have enough or as Tamlyn Tomita said more eloquently “If I am more fortunate than others I need to build a longer table, not a taller fence.”

All in all, this book did remind me that I have a long way to go myself at being nicer to people, I need to practice my convictions, not just state them, and develop the kind of person I really want to be. In short, a better man.

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