Attributes of a healthy communities, towns and cities

Schools are well funded, and all the neighborhood kids attend the same school. Teachers and parents are accountable to each other outside of school hours. It takes a village to raise a child. 

Schools and daycare are affordable.

Community members are in service to each other. Policeman, baristas, doctors, teachers accountants, small business owners, civil servants all know each other. Their kids attend the same schools, they collaborate, and interactions are in person. 

Everything is walkable, which means there’s more face to face interaction. Cars are containers that limit serendipitous discovery. Stay away from places without sidewalks. Places that don’t promote walkability are broadcasting that visitors and interactions aren’t welcome.

The community supports the elderly through multi-generational homes, well-maintained sidewalks, and subsidized bus services.

Public libraries are central to the community, authors are invited to speak, and different points of view are aired and discussed. 

There are public parks and sports centers for tennis, swimming, golf, bowling, basketball, baseball. Central gathering points encourage people to break bread together and exchange ideas. 

Believe in someone

Imagine this clip wasn’t about sport. Imagine it was about academics and encouraging a young kid at school. It’s a little hazy now but I can’t recall ever hearing a teacher talking like this to me or anyone else when I was at school.

Marry someone who believes in you, work for people who believe in you. Then pay it forward and make sure your kids or young people in particular hear that you believe in their potential.

Urban communities will be family

If you want to make new friends or nurture existing relationships, then find shared interests. Shared interests create shared experiences and shared memories. Find communities that work and play together.

Suburban America is compartmentalized into McMansions, high fences, and car friendly neighborhoods. Suburban America is not a healthy garden to grow a community. People have everything they want at their fingertips but are still isolated and lonely. When last did you have a conversation with your neighbors or fellow tenants?

The good news is that concentrated urbanization is trending and housing legislation is adapting. Sadly tech hubs like San Francisco have been slow to adjust and will see an exodus of young people and families looking for more affordable living arrangements and better public services.

Individually owned cars will be a legacy mode of transporting and will be surpassed by communal ownership and various forms of public transport. Public transportation like trains is a leading indicator of growth in new companies. More trains in cities equate to more successful startups. Sci-fi novels are pretty good at telling the future, and most of them envisage dense cityscapes, and that is full of skyscrapers.

We see the same trend in farming. We will do more with less space as people urbanized. The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of food as measured by value, second only to the US, which has 270 times its landmass.

Healthy communities depend on each other, are compassionate and look out for their neighbors. More and more people will migrate to these megacities and sadly away from family. The community will become their family over time…any immigrant knows this from personal experience. Compartmentalized America is in for a nasty surprise as these trends start to accelerate. Adapt now and start exercising your community muscle.

Flee from them

If you have a gambling problem, then don’t go to Las Vegas even if the best show in the world is playing on the strip.

If you can’t say no to that last drink, then stay away from bars.

If you are addicted to nicotine, then don’t hang out in the smoking lounge.

If you are trying to kick caffeine, then stay away from coffee shops.

If you are addicted to the endorphin kick from social media, then delete the apps like Facebook or Instagram that suck you in. Turn off push notifications and opt out of the email. There are brilliant people at these companies whose sole job, compensation and bonuses are centered on getting you to spend more time scrolling through the feed. Sadly a lot of them could be applying that same expertise to nobler causes, but money talks and principles walk out the door.

If there are people you follow on Twitter who spew negativity, hate, and decisiveness and in the process make you feel pretty shitty then unfollow them.

Don’t try to control these vices; you need to flee from them. Keep away from the hooks, and you won’t get sucked in. Addictive vices are seductive, so to counter the gravitational pull you have to engineer your life and habits to avoid them. Associate with people that reinforce good habits and keep you on track. Sometimes the best way to beat something is to run away.

Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.

Energize your day

Kick the coffee. Drink herbal tea.🍵 It’ll regulate your moods.

Drop the booze at night. You’ll sleep deeper and wake up rested

Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.

Exercise for at least 25min every day. Get a balance of anaerobic and aerobic exercise.

Phone a friend and catch up. Don’t text or post something. Phone the person. Connect with them, don’t just communicate with them.

Get lunch outside of the office. It’ll get you walking, and you’ll probably eat with someone else.

Drink lots of water.

Avoid sugar, especially during the afternoon slump. Same with coffee.

Eat oats in the morning. You’ll also lose weight. Avoid toast for breakfast, especially with sweet jams, etc. are not ideal for breakfast. Toast is an efficient food delivery system, so be careful what the cargo is. If you must have toast, then have it with some butter.

Spend time with positive people.

Smile 😊

Be kind and shrug off grudges and slights. Grudges suck up a ton energy.

Be thankful for one thing every day.

Be social. We are pack animals. A community is a powerful thing.

Giving is energizing. Be a giver.

Digital doors and the importance of being physically present

Physical pilgrimages are important. I used to think that viewing something digitally was enough and that being there physically didn’t matter, but I’ve learned through traveling that being there physically can accelerate a connection to people and places.

Smells, sounds, people and places all trigger feelings that should be acknowledged and processed. There are places where the energy is palpable like airport arrival halls, Yosemite National Park or returning to the town I was born. In other places the energy needs to be stewarded, nurtured or repaired..maybe it’s been drained or sucked on by too many people or it’s been a place of suffering or pain. It’s hard to feel it without physically being there.

It can’t be experienced remotely via digital doors like Facebook, FaceTime and Skype. Digital connections build relationships and we are more compassionate and connected because of them, but physically being in the place is a different level. It’s about resonating with the frequency of the place and in turn having it resonate with you.

Carve out the time and travel. It stimulates growth in you, and in the people and places you visit.

Work with clever and kind people

Work with clever people who are kind. Look for them, stay close to them, and learn from them.

Be weary of clever people who are unkind. Keep your distance and handle with caution.

Clever and kind people nurture and grow powerful communities of trusted friends who in turn connect and amplify those connections. Be part of that community. It’s powered by kindness and it’s evergreen.

Guides

When I go for a hike in new territory I take a map or consult a guide. When I’m driving to a new location I pull out my phone and turn on navigation. It makes no sense to get in the car and start driving before I have directions.

When it comes to a spiritual journey most people do the opposite. Maybe they read a book, watch a film or speak to someone who inspires them. They make a decision to investigate and explore which is awesome, but they forget to pick a guide.

If you’ve woken up and are searching for answers, the first step is realizing that having a guide will keep you on track when you lose your way. This path has already been trodden by poets and mystics – take someone’s hand and follow. If you reach out, someone will hold your hand.