What does "be good or be good at it" mean?

Danielle started saying it on the podcast and I’ve been trying to puzzle out if it means anything but haven’t gotten anywhere. Is there an origin I missed?

My best guess is that “be good” means like, be nice, be good to people, and that “be good at it” means be good at… something. But ideally you would want both. Esp the first one. So that seems wrong.

Anyway, please help. My family is dying.

It means nothing.


I thought about it a little, and I think it’s similar to saying “don’t break the law, or don’t get caught” but not quite the same? like it’s much more inspirational somehow

Be good, or if you’re not gonna be good, at least do the bad thing well to make it worth it. Or that’s what I reckon.

I think it’s Danielle’s regular sign off on her other podcast Idle Weekend but I’ve only recently started listening so I don’t know if there’s some deeper origin~ there somewhere

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I took it to mean that kindness and skill are important traits that people should strive to have.

I feel like that’s the answer but i WANT it to mean something

UPDATE: breaking news


Nah, it’s a Waypoint Radio thing. It started in episode 54 (Are you a bird truther?) and became a “thing” starting from episode 56. Interestingly, in older episodes where Austin is away, Danielle tries out a few other signoff messages (to avoid using Austin’s characteristic “peace”) starting with episode 40’s “I can’t end with ‘peace’ so I’m going to end with… don’t hate.” and continuing with episode 51’s “I’m going to end not on ‘peace’ but on… have a good day.”


I agree that it’s “be well-behaved or be so skilled at mischief that you don’t get in trouble and appear well-behaved”. I like it a lot.


I admire your documentation here.

I always interpreted it as “be nice or if you’re going to be an asshole at least be really good at the game”.

I have some issues with this phrase. To me it suggests that being “good” (nice, considerate, caring polite etc) is completely optional if you’re “good at it” (Talented, successful, popular, desirable etc)

This concept seems very much at odds with Waypoints broader philosophy and I’m not quite sure why Danielle gravitated towards it other than it sounds vaguely catchy and a cute turn of phrase.

I’d much rather “Be good and be good at it” as it’s encouraging all of us to be a decent human being as well as striving to improve what we do.

Whilst really minor, it’s been bugging me for a while as I think being great at something doesn’t give one permission to be a jerk.

No, that’s demanding us to be good and be good at something. Some of us just suck and a woman who is good at both saving lives and potentially ending them telling us not to isn’t going to make it better.

It’s much more respectful to tell people to be good or be the best at being bad. You do you assorted cat burglars listening to the Waypoint podcast as you stakeout the guard changes at an art museum.

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Like every inspiring thing that I hear, I associate it with virtue ethics. We must endlessly strive to be good but, also, to work at being good, not to take it for granted. Being a good person isn’t a mask that can be worn, but a process of endlessly working towards being Good.

I’m sorry, I have a very loose grasp of philosophy and it all turns into self-help books in my hands.


Y’all are twisting “be nice or nice at being naughty” a tad too much.

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I never really thought about it but if I had to interpret it I would say it’s similar to fake it til you make it in that if you strive to be good you will eventually be good at it.

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I like this take the best tbh. There are some reads of it that I like less, like ones where Danielle (a very impressive person who is good at a lot of shit) is asking people to try to approach her level (which, I don’t actually think she is asking that). I think originally it probably just sounded good, but I like the “fake it til you make it” read

Sometimes mates the world doesn’t allow you to be “good” so you might as well strive to have the best outcome from whatever situation you happen to be in. Idk you could spur some huge morality debate here if you really wanted but personally I don’t think it requires that much dissecting, it’s just a fun thing, I really wouldn’t blame Danielle if she hadn’t thought too much about it.

I have some issues with this phrase. To me it suggests that being “good” (nice, considerate, caring polite etc) is completely optional if you’re “good at it” (Talented, successful, popular, desirable etc)

Honestly this is how I always read it also, and it doesn’t quite sit well with me either.

Oh well.

I only started listening around episode 118, but at some point it must have changed, because Danielle now says “be good and be good at it”. I was really struck by the succinct well-meaning and positive statement, to me it seemed obvious… be an actively good person. The combination of that, “Miss You”, and Austin’s “Peace” always ends the podcast on a high for me.

I went back to episode 56 and sure enough it started as an ‘or’. (I’ll leave it to the historians to work out exactly when it changed!) Agree with @Calum and others about it not sitting as well with an ‘or’, so thumbs up for the tweak.