Let’s Talk About Why
I love Simon Sinek and his now classic TED Talk, “Start with Why”. Sinek says, “Your why is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do.” Do you know your why?
After thirty years of awareness of community, three years of researching and writing a book about community building, and several months following publication of continuing to decode this wonderful, mysterious state, it was still difficult for me to synthesize my thoughts to discover my why. But, in the process of composing this post, I did just that.
My why is to teach people to build community in their lives so that no one anywhere ever should have to feel alone.
Have you read Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam? Putnam asks: “Why, beginning in the 1960s and 1970s and accelerating in the 1980s and the 1990s, did the fabric of American community life begin to unravel?”
He discovered a correlation between civic connections and happiness; “Regular club attendance, volunteering, entertaining, or church attendance is the happiness equivalent of getting a college degree or more than doubling your income. Civic connections rival marriage and affluence as predictors of life happiness.”
And, “The biggest happiness returns to volunteering, clubgoing, and entertaining at home appear to come between “never” and “once a month”.
Having just one civic connection can radically increase your satisfaction and happiness in life even if you see your group only once a month!
Why We Need Community
The consequences of our society’s lack of community are dire. As Johanne Hari reports, the opposite of addiction is connection. Putnam says, “…the remarkable coincidence that during the same years that social connectedness has been declining, depression and even suicide have been increasing.” Is it a coincidence? Is there anything more valuable to the human soul than the knowledge that someone has your back? This conclusion has been supported many times over. Dr. Dierner, who is considered a world authority on happiness, says one of the keys to happiness is, “Having social relationships, giving to others, having people you can count on.”
When you are part of a community, you have many people you can count on and you never have to face life’s challenges alone.
Why not build a community? You can begin to change the world right now by building just one community. The community you build may inspire its members to build one too. Building a community is like tossing a stone into the center of a calm lake; its ripples go farther than you can imagine.
Why not build one small community, right where you are, right now? I can show you how.
Photo Credit: Eric