Must Be Nice

This is exciting! We are so pumped that this day has finally arrived – the kickoff to the very first Escape Lab!

You should have received your Treasure Box by now, and we hope you’ve had a chance to enjoy the contents. We also hope you’ve left the secret parts secret. :) Every week day, we will be posting SOMETHING. It might be something to watch, something to read, or something to do. We plan on starting off each week with a video, so without further ado, let’s dive right in…

[ Get transcript ]

Today’s theme was inspired by a post Jason wrote last summer. Too often we use the term “must be nice” in a negative way, usually to discount the accomplishments of others or to rationalize why we might not be further along or more successful than we wish we were. The truth is that we ALL have a “must be nice”…quite a few, actually. Our aim is that maybe we can turn this phrase around into a positive, both to celebrate the blessings in our own lives as well as the successes in others (Mudita!) May the coffee mug that we shipped you serve as a reminder to rejoice in your own “must be nice.”

Extra Stuff

• Read: Must Be Nice, the original post Jason wrote on this subject.
• Read: Mudita, the opposite of schadenfreude

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Facebook Group
You are cordially invited to join a special Facebook group called the Escape Adulthood League. We originally created it for people who attended an Escape Adulthood Summit. It has blossomed into an amazingly vibrant group of like-minded people infused with a sense of community, sharing, and silliness. It’s a swell chance to stay connected with other people who “get” you! Check it out and request an invite here:

Photo Uploads
Some folks have had challenges in uploading photos in the comment section. Most likely, that’s because there are file size limits on photos that can be uploaded (We only have so much space on our server!) In order to address this, we changed the setting from 500 kilobytes to 1 megabyte, effectively doubling the size that can be accepted. That should help most of you. In addition, if you need to make your pictures smaller, and you don’t know how to do it with software on your computer, there is a neat website that you can use. It’s free and easy, just follow the instructions:

Your challenge is to record at least one “Must Be Nice” every day over the course of this Lab. You can jot them down in your Adventure Journal, or if you want to share them on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platform, feel free to use the hashtag #mustbenice

What’s your “Must Be Nice” for today? Share it below!


  1. I came home from a business trip late last night to a completely clean house (thanks Kim), and tonight we are having cherry pie for dessert (my favorite!)…#mustbenice

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      I have a spin-off “must be nice” from yours, Jason. I was able to clean the house yesterday because Sue and Jenna took Lucy and Ben to a movie and I had energy from getting a full night of sleep (first time in 2 years), thanks to Sue and Jenna taking all three kiddos overnight so that I could recharge. Must be nice to have friends like Sue and Jenna?! Yes, yes it is.

  2. Avatar Ron England says:

    I have an awesome College Football team (Ohio State) to root for! #GoBucks! #Mustbenice

  3. Avatar Ron England says:

    I have an awesome journal (Moleskine!!) #mustbenice
    I have an awesome wife who signed me up for the Escape Lab! #mustbenice

  4. Angela Dunlap Angela Dunlap says:

    I e-mailed my mid-term statistical, narrative and financial reports today, and they aren’t due until Thursday, Jan. 15!

  5. Michelle Grajkowski Michelle Grajkowski says:

    I have a 13-year-old son who still loves to snuggle and a 16-year-old daughter who tells be everything! #mustbenice

    My husband is an amazing chef and makes me delicious lunches and dinners everyday! #mustbenice

    My 81-year-old grandma, Honey, is one of my bestest friends ever! #mustbenice

  6. Avatar Corinne Hanson says:

    My “must be nice” for today is that I have a job. It provides health insurance and best of all lots of nice people. (I work in a church.) If it wasn’t for my job, I wouldn’t have learned about Adultitis! So I’m grateful for my job. (I kept looking for Stinky in the video, though…)

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Seems like forever ago that we were down there for that fun evening! We’re blessed that your job is what has connected us to you and Bob. :) Stinky… hmm… good question!

  7. Avatar Rachel Nash says:

    I can be a stay at home Mom! #mustbenice

  8. Wendy Whitney-Scherer Wendy Whitney-Scherer says:

    My husband drives school bus and drives our daughter to school everyday. Since the route starts and ends at our house, she doesn’t have to wait in the cold and has her daddy with her to load her up in the morning and take her into the house at night. :)

  9. Avatar William Thom says:

    I have two great daughters to ski with in order to make winter and cold fun! #mustbenice

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  10. Avatar William Thom says:

    I have the perfect length bus ride home to watch videos from Kim and Jason. #mustbenice

  11. Darla Dernovsek Darla Dernovsek says:

    I was able to work from home today, where I got a break-time cuddle from my grandson and was done with work in time to enjoy watching a beautiful sunset from my kitchen window. My husband even made homemade soup for supper. So very nice!

  12. Tara Ingalls Tara Ingalls says:

    I have an amazing husband that is trying hard to make all our bucket list items come true while we’re still young enough to enjoy ’em. This spring he’s planned us a trip to Bora Bora. Holy %@))$&(! #mustbenice

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  13. Avatar Krista Sobieski says:

    I attended the Green Bay Packer playoff game with my husband & two older boys yesterday! Awesome to have season tickets! I work with one of the best co workers I know that really is a great friend! I have 4 very unique kids who amaze me each day! Oh & I have opportunity to do great things!

  14. Teri Kranz-Drella Teri Kranz-Drella says:

    This was one of my favorite sessions of the last Escape Adulthood Summit. My husband and I still share a smile when we hear our kids say something isn’t fair–basically “it must be nice”.

    I am blessed to have a husband who has learned to keep adultitis at bay and enjoy the simple things in life.

  15. Teri Kranz-Drella Teri Kranz-Drella says:

    This was one of my favorite sessions of the last Escape Adulthood Summit. My husband and I still share a smile when we hear our kids say something isn’t fair–basically “it must be nice”.

    I am blessed to have a husband who has learned to keep adultitis at bay and enjoy the simple things in life.

  16. Becky Reisinger Becky Reisinger says:

    My kids are pitching in to clean up the house while my husband uses the snow destroyer giving me some time to enjoy the Escape Lab. #mustbenice

  17. Kimberly McCue Kimberly McCue says:

    I have a cute little guinea pig named Diddy, who is finally getting to the age where he’s settling down and will sit still on my lap to be petted.

  18. Molly Hughes Molly Hughes says:

    I am a family child care provider, so I get to work in the comfort of my own home, caring a for a group of great kids (lots of snuggles and giggles), working with great parents. My own kids are awesome helpers, and my husband quietly tolerates the chaos, while being as helpful as he can. #mustbenice

  19. Laurie Guest Laurie Guest says:

    I spent the whole weekend in Miami with a group of really cool speaker friends while my husband stayed home with kids, laundry and sub-zero weather. He even picked me up at the airport with a smile! #mustbenice

    • Hmmm…this sounds remarkably like my weekend. :)

      Only I got picked up at the airport via taxi by a guy who looked like Jabba the Hutt’s son.

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Hmmm… your husband’s weekend sounds remarkably like my weekend. :) Except I didn’t pick the hubs up at the airport, instead stayed in my jammies at home. Must to nice to have a spouse that picks ya up! :)

  20. Melissa Calderara Melissa Calderara says:

    I spent the last couple of weeks house hunting, inspection after inspection I can definitely feel adultitis sneak in and ruin my mood! However it is great that I get to move closer to the city, half my commute time to work and live closer to my friends! #mustbenice

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      When we were buying our house I had the thought that having the career as a house inspector must be a pretty Adultitis-ridden job… always looking for errors, even if it is for the benefit of those you serve. Yay for your big new change!

  21. Avatar Lynn Major says:

    I have a job where I can adjust what days of the week I want to work and what hours of that day. In fact most days I can decide if I am going to take the day off or work at 8 in the morning.

  22. Amy Metcalf Amy Metcalf says:

    For a husband who goes out of his way to make sure I feel loved EVERY single day!

  23. Avatar JoAnn Nelson says:

    I have a great husband who granted my wish and signed me up for this for my birthday! And he’s participating with me! It must be nice! :D

  24. Lynn Carter Lynn Carter says:

    Last night the weather was awful and the roads were freaky dangerous with lots of accidents. So we got a snow day today, but the sun came out and it was gorgeous and safe and sleddable! Woo!

  25. Melissa LeFever Melissa LeFever says:

    I decided to start a new family tradition this New Years and made up a Gratitude Box. We have started to put in little notes of thanks or celebration or memories into the box and will open it next New Years and put all those notes into a scrapbook/family history of sorts for the year and then start another box for the next year. The box is cardboard decorated with wrapping paper, random leftover craft items and the quote “How children see things depends on what we teach them.” Must be nice that my brain was already prepped for this adventure :) We decided to do our box because our toddler is starting to imitate us and in my head I fast forwarded a few years and thought, if she acts like we do then she will be coming home and complaining about school like we complain about work. Must be nice to be able to change my attitude and have the support of my husband/best friend in doing so! #mustbenice

    • Avatar Sally Van Rens says:

      What an awesome idea. It will be fun to open that box in a year.

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Melissa, I absolutely LOVE this!!! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Kimberly McCue Kimberly McCue says:

      Very nice!

    • Julie Dinges Julie Dinges says:

      What a fabulous idea! Think our family will adopt the gratitude box and begin on a Valentine’s Day since I don’t want to wait until next New Years ;) Thx for the inspiration Melissa!

    • Ward Jackie Ward Jackie says:

      I am so inspired with choose to be grateful & mirror gratitude for your child while filling up your gratitude bucket. I am reading a book Making Grateful Kids by Jeffrey Froh, awesome read

    • Becky Reisinger Becky Reisinger says:

      I love this and am going to start this in my house at tomorrow’s dinner! I have 2 teenagers and a preschooler who very rarely have anything nice to say to each other. The negative attitudes are very tiring.

    • Michelle Grachek Michelle Grachek says:

      This is awesome. I love this!!

    • Melissa LeFever Melissa LeFever says:

      This is my glorious box- I finally took some time to transfer pics from my phone to the computer to upload. It is not what I hoped it would be in terms of my craft aptitude, but it is what it is and I love it as it is- a random box of random notes of all good things from the year :)

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  26. Avatar Teal VanLanen says:

    Honestly, I came to bed early tonight after tucking my girls into bed. I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed; completely forgetting that today was “the day” – January 12th! As I was searching through my emails, I was blessed when I came across the first day of the escape lab. Reading all of your posts has lifted my spirits. I am part of a really great thing!

  27. Avatar Katherine Puckett says:

    Despite a heavy work load that is calling me, I’m taking the time to start the Escape Lab on time, vs. putting it off till the “important stuff” is done. Yea! #mustbenice

  28. Avatar Dave Timmerman says:

    It must be nice that one of my employees asked of she could take a couple days to help any ailing aunt who is a hoarder.

  29. Heidi Thompson Heidi Thompson says:

    Must be nice to have dear friends far away in miles but close in heart with whom to share fun adventures! Like this chic! Thanks for the invite to the Escape Lab Adventure, Krizzany!!

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  30. Avatar Deborah Buchanan says:

    Enjoyed a beautiful warming fire in the fireplace at least once over the week of cold weather. Blessed that my husband starts it up and cleans up the ashes. #mustbenice

  31. Monica Deal Monica Deal says:

    I love this idea! As a result, I am respinning my day, realizing that I really do have a “must be nice” life. After all, I was able to spend my day waiting at the orthodontist’s office while my daughter got her braces put on, shopping for groceries, running several other errands, making dinner, and driving to after school activities. I know there are other families out there who would love to have the time and resources to do these things, and now, I’m grateful for what I have. For the record, my youngest (11) said my “must be nice” should be her and her two siblings ;-) That same daughter also gave me two hugs today because “I looked like I needed a hug,” so really, I do have a great life. Thanks for helping me realize it.

    • Thanks for being open to the idea, Monica! I’m sure I could probably come up with at least five “must be nice’s” even on my worst day…if only I’d take the time to focus on them!

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Free hugs as needed. Definitely a must be nice! :)

  32. Avatar Michelle Herzbrun says:

    My husband makes dinner for us 3 to 4 times a week. He will try to have dinner almost ready by the time I get home each night:) mustbenice

  33. Avatar Sally Van Rens says:

    “Must be nice” that I have an awesome job at a childcare center that I love to go to everyday. I am the director at a non-profit center that serves roughly 80- 100 children. I love my job because every day is an adventure, no two days are alike. I get to spend time making a difference in the lives of children, their families, and making great friends at work. Our team is amazing, we are our own family with support, and a dose of fun whenever possible. #mustbenice

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      You and your team are what I like to call: Everyday Superheroes. Thank you for improving the lives of kids each day!

  34. Mary Eickemeyer Mary Eickemeyer says:

    I work in a place that gives every employee a paid day off for his/her birthday. #mustbenice

  35. Kristin Hoehne Kristin Hoehne says:

    Must be nice that my friend’s son was EXCITED that Krizanee would be babysitting for him this morning.

    My friends refer to me as Kris Hoehne as to not confuse me with other friends named Chris and Christy. The kids hear this and truly believe that my first name is KrisHoehne. No spaces, slashes, or dashes. Krishoehne…Krizanee. This is how my nickname came about. (i wonder what they think my last name is? :O) )

    Must be nice to hear Nicholas say “Krizanee! You want to play Wego’s wif me?” when I was babysitting him this morning. #mustbenice

  36. Avatar Ron England says:

    My team is the National Champion Football Team… The Ohio State Buckeyes!! #mustbenice #GoBucks

  37. Lora Klitzke Lora Klitzke says:


    to get up and walk the dog with my husband, to ride to work with him daily, to grocery shop at night after work and have him starting dinner at home

  38. Katie Heruth Katie Heruth says:

    I had all my meals delivered to my house this week so I don’t have to go grocery shopping! #mustbenice

  39. Debbie Green Debbie Green says:

    Sorry a day late! My Husband taught me 33 years ago if we can’t afford it we don’t buy it. Now we are debt free and have financial security!!

  40. Jenna Regis Jenna Regis says:

    Taking your day off to celebrate your birthday in your pjs – #mustbenice!

  41. Melissa LeFever Melissa LeFever says:

    We were able to put all our extra $ toward my school loan and this week it is paid off in 1/2 the time it was supposed to take! Must be nice to only have one loan left to pay off!!!

  42. Sarah Jenkins Sarah Jenkins says:

    I got to have lunch with my mom today. She “treated” me to a Happy Meal at Mc. Donald’s :-)

  43. Michelle Smith-Beckley Michelle Smith-Beckley says:

    My kiddos provided me with an extra challenging Monday morning during the “get ready and get out of the house” process. As I now write this with hindsight…it all turned out okay. I continue to count my blessings everyday that they are a part of our family. #mustbenice

  44. Kimberly Tice Kimberly Tice says:

    It must be nice that Jason is one of our keynote speakers for our 2015 Ohio Early Childhood Conference so I’ll get to hear him speak in person in May!!!

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Yahoo!!! :) We have to get him to ride the watersides in his suit jacket, like in the promo video for Kalahari!

  45. Michelle Grachek Michelle Grachek says:

    I have a wonderful father in law who makes dinner for my family at least 3 times a week during the work days so my family does not have to eat fast food. Thanks grandpa!!! #mustbenice

  46. Wendy Whitney-Scherer Wendy Whitney-Scherer says:

    1/13/15 I live in the country, so we have lots of space (woods to explore, a creek to play in), animals, quiet, and privacy.

    1/14/15 That I get time away from my responsibilities to creatively sew and embroider with my friends while talking, eating, and laughing (not all three at the same time).

  47. Sarah Tipperreiter Sarah Tipperreiter says:

    I have a flexible work schedule so I can get errands and appointments done on weekdays when it’s less crowded (and I took full advantage of that this morning!). #mustbenice

  48. Jen de Ridder Jen de Ridder says:

    Got home today from an amazing work conference, at one of my favorite places, with my favorite folks to a yummy dinner, my family and getting my lab on #mustbenice.

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  49. I can handle confrontation and express my feelings about a situation or person. As my sister once told me – “You have bigger balls than me.” She means she admires that I take risks, that I approach people and situations others might walk away from or avoid, and go “all in”. It isn’t easy…trust me, I have to summon my courage…but I DO do this. Case in point, I recently exposed my vulnerability and told the guy I was dating my true feelings for him and that I wanted more from him…even though he felt the same, he had reached the limits of what he could give me right now…I had to steel my nerves, and be the one to officially end it. Maybe he will come back into my life when the time is right…and maybe he was only meant to be in my life for that very brief time. That is where I put it all in God’s hands. But “must be nice” that it’s fairly easy for me to confront things head on and tell people like it is.

    • Melissa LeFever Melissa LeFever says:

      Kudos to you! It takes nerve to be honest and back up the honesty with your actions.

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      You rock, girl! This trait that you explain is one that I think most women have to grow into – moxy! I’ve told Jason so many times, I wish I had the moxy NOW that I know I’ll eventually have when I’m in my 60’s.

    • Avatar Sally Van Rens says:

      Kuddos to you for standing up for your feelings. This is a trait I am working on myself, thanks for the inspiration.

  50. Rhonda Drexler Rhonda Drexler says:

    I am the lead singer in a rock band. I get to perform for a lot of different events and make people dance and have a great time. My daughter harmonizes and plays guitar and my husband is the drummer. I have 3 amazing guitar players that have become like family. I am blessed to be able to travel, rock n roll and take my family with me.

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  51. Melissa LeFever Melissa LeFever says:

    Must be nice to have a child that actually (finally) sleeps through the night (for now) and be able to spend a date night in with pizza, netflix and some shrinky dinks. (I texted a friend my plan and she asked “do you mean drinks?” LOL. I never heard of those, but I guess whatever we have tonight it could be a new concoction of shrinky dinks and shrinky drinks… so many possibilities of what those could be!)

    • Jason Love Jason Love says:

      It must be nice having a child that sleeps through the night. We have a 4-month-old and everyone suffers right now… I hope you enjoyed your date night. Sounds like fun.

      • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

        We’re right with ya, Jason. Even though Ginny is 13 months, she still has at least one nighttime bottom and now Ben (3 years old) is giving us some middle-of-the-night “issues”. Everyone does suffer! Good to cheer each other on and be happy for those who have passed the more challenging stages of parenting young ones. Hang in there!

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      High five for a good night of sleep! WOO HOOOOOOOOO!

  52. Wendy Whitney-Scherer Wendy Whitney-Scherer says:

    1/15/15 I have a job and steady paycheck and summers at home.
    1/16/15 That Wayne cooked three times this week and watched the kids while I sewed.
    That my kids are a constant source of entertainment in just one day…
    1) early morning jelly bean tasting (see below),
    2) walking by the creek and playing
    3) snowman building (it’s actually warm enough to play outside safely)
    4) “cooking” dried beans and dirtying all my pots, trays, utensils

  53. Jason Love Jason Love says:

    I am lucky enough to from work from home. After moving my office from the small spare bedroom to our basement, I was skyping an artist friend who lives in LA . He said ” #ItMustBeNice to have a basement and all that space”… He was right.

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    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Totally can relate to this one. Jason and I (and Jenna) have our offices in our basement. It IS nice! :)

    • Avatar Sally Van Rens says:

      I would love an at home office! Mine is used for storage right now.

      • Jason Love Jason Love says:

        My wife and I used to use the basement for storage. Now I get the fun job of slowly organizing and clearing out things for the studio space… A lot is going into the garage and attic.

  54. Kristin Hoehne Kristin Hoehne says:

    Must be nice to get to watch my nephew work on his form in Karate.

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  55. Allie Henke Allie Henke says:

    I come home form a meeting to the dishes done, laundry put away, supper made, our little ones bath done and ready for bed, pets fed, and my favorite tv show on ready for me to watch with my loving husband. Must be nice!!

  56. Melissa LeFever Melissa LeFever says:

    This little girl is doing okay after a medical scare this weekend. It is a blessing to have another day with the people I love most and the perspective to cherish the little moments. Must be nice.

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  57. LeighAnn Keefer LeighAnn Keefer says:

    I just LOVE the coffee mug! The message behind the mug was just what I needed. Comparison distorts my ability to see my abundantly blessed life. Thank you for the reminder.
    I took my mug to work and I have to admit that I am using it in a slightly different way. Things are not going really well right now with my job. The mug has become my visual reminder that I “must be nice” to those I come in contact with and try to see things from their perspective. I am looking forward to escaping adulthood through these “experiments”.

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      When it comes to comparison, the best line I ever heard was: A life of compare leads to a life of despair. I know that to be true, firsthand some days. Sorry to hear about work troubles. I’m happy to hear the mug is helping in a creative way. :)

  58. Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

    I was craving chocolate milk tonight and then I remembered an old recipe Jason and I made up when we were first married, which we fondly referred to as a “Poor Man Shake.” I ran to the freezer and was thrilled to find that we had vanilla ice cream, so I could make one. Official recipe: Make a glass of chocolate milk, drop a LARGE scoop (or two) of ice cream in the glass, and drizzle chocolate (and/or caramel) syrup on top. So, I get to sit here tonight reading all of these awesome comments (while Jason works on art) and enjoy my Poor Man Shake. #mustbenice

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  59. Angela Dunlap Angela Dunlap says:

    Must be nice to tinker and wear new mismatched socks to work. Thank you, Kim and Jason! I smiled all day.

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