Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links which means that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through the links and make a purchase.
In this digital age, we are more connected than ever, yet we are physically starved for connection, touch, social belonging, and community.
Let’s take a look at some facts:
- According to a study published in American Sociological Review, one in four Americans report that they have zero friends to confide in with important matters which has tripled in the last thirty years.
- One in three Americans over the age of 65 is socially isolated. One in two over the age of 85 are socially isolated.
- Having weak social connections is as bad to our health as being an alcoholic and twice as bad as being obese.
- Social isolation sets off a cellular chain reaction that increases inflammation and inhibits the body’s autoimmune response to disease. We not only go mentally insane from isolation and loneliness, we get physically sick!
That’s the sad reality of today, but it should be a major wake-up call!
A study found that when friends got together at a café, Mexicans touched each other 185 times, friends in Paris touched each other 115 times, and friends in Florida touched each other twice.
People rarely touch each other in a friendly, casual way.
The irony is that we are a porn and sex obsessed culture. America is the most porn watching country in the world (40% of all the viewers in the world are Americans).
Also, while personal development is growing and things like self-care and self-love are talked about often, we are so depressed and anxious. Depression and anxiety are on the rise among everyone, especially young teens.
We are a society that highly values individualism, independence, competition, and achievement. (And building walls, too.)
With all this, the good news is that we can change this with something so natural and simple.
The communities that live the longest (Okinawans in Japan, Sardinians in Italy, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Costa Ricans) attribute their health and longevity to strong family ties, enjoyable social engagements, regular exercise, healthy eating, and community.
Even as someone who struggles with social anxiety, I have felt the joy and power in connecting with others and I highly value feeling being a part of different communities.
There is so much undervalued, understated, and underrated power in community. We, individually, wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for other people. We wouldn’t be at the state of society and advancement we are today without community and working together.
Following are 10 benefits of community.
1. Advancement & Growth
We advance as a society with new ideas and collective wisdom. We are able to solve problems quicker working together because we’re able to bounce ideas off each other, debate, challenge each other, and add on to others ideas and knowledge. Community and teamwork allows us to search for and find the best answers and knowledge out there and make the best decisions.
Building community is like building stairs or a ladder to get to the other side. Instead of building walls, we build bridges.
When we’re with each other, we produce oxytocin which is a natural anti-depressant. We don’t need Prozac with enough healthy community and belonging. People who feel as though they belong are not only healthier and live longer, but they are happier throughout their lifetimes. A famous Harvard study found that the happiest people were those that focused on relationships and love above all else.
3. Healing & therapeutic
Most of us know the feeling we get after talking to a supportive and loving friend when we’re feeling down. It’s healing and therapeutic. There’s a reason why there are therapist and therapy is a thing. Therapy involves talking to and connecting with another person.
Others’ love and support can help get us through the worst of pain and the roughest and hardest times. It also makes all our best times, joy, laugher, good news, and success worth it because we get to share it.
We learn from one another. Imagine a world where we were completely independent from one another and we had to learn everything for ourselves. Many skills, knowledge, and practices would go instinct.
Studies also show that we learn better from others’ mistakes and experiences, contrary to what popular sayings will tell you. We also are able to truly learn more and master something when we can teach others that thing.
5. Life is more fun
There’s only so much we can do to entertain ourselves. Life would be so boring and bland if we didn’t have each other. There is more laughter, more joy, and more fun connecting with people. With communities, we find other individuals who share our interests and values. We are able to find ‘our people.’
6. More & greater success
Teamwork really does make the dream work. Community allows us to accomplish more because we can build upon each other’s work. Community allows things to happen. We become limitless together. We can turn anything from good to great with the right community.
Oftentimes, when it comes to big community things like businesses, we tend to blame everything on the leaders, the CEO, but in the book Good to Great, Jim Collins states that this type of thinking is ignorant, similar to the times when we blamed God for everything instead of the natures of science.
In reality, a business with a great leader but without a great team does not succeed in the long-term. Once the ‘great leader’ leaves, the business crumbles because it cannot survive without the leader. Great businesses are more than just about the leader. They are about the people, the community, the team.
More importantly, the research from Good to Great found that finding the right people was the first and most important step in building a great business, as the idea is: “First who, then what?” You can have the same exact strategy but with different people, you’ll have different results. It’s the people that make all the difference. Jim Collins states that people are not your most important asset. The right people are.
We can not only get more done working together, but we can get more done faster. This is efficiency at its core. We become faster and better with each other and therefore more efficient. Community and working together saves a lot of time.
The key, as stated in Good to Great, to having not just a great business but a great business and a great life, is being able to find the right people and having the right people around you which allows for a balance of having both success and time.
This goes without saying. Without even human touch, we would cease to exist. We both survive and thrive because of community. There’s a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. There is so much truth in this. Studies also show that parents have a limited impact on a person’s character. Their peers have a greater impact on who they are and become.
Community creates the economy. It creates business that create products and services that serves our needs and wants and ultimately give us a higher standard of living. We survive better and easier with community.
We give back to one another and share when we come together. We help each other by keeping each other accountable. With the right people, anything that is physically possible is achievable. The same goes for the right resources.
Community allows us to share and give with each other. If this wasn’t the case, we would miss out on so much.
10. Deepens relationships & creates new ones
Community allows us to essentially choose our family. Like I said above, we are able to find our people – people whom we genuinely and deeply connect with.
A healthy community can also help deepen the relationships we already have with others. Having healthy deep relationships also has a trickle effect on all other areas of our lives – our wellbeing, our success, our happiness, and longevity.
The need to belong and have strong community and social ties is fundamental! Let’s harness the power of community and come together to create greatness.