Community development is one of the few things that is discussed but it is an important aspect of our lives.  A community is a feeling of friendship with others while sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.  It is so important that if you want to live longer than you should become involved with a community you can grow old with.  “The surprising finding is that our relations and how happy we are in our relationships have a powerful influence on our health” Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist, and professor at Harvard Medical School.

There are key factors that contribute to developing and thriving in a community.  People just thrive when they are surrounded by other like-minded individuals.  It’s a proven fact that people who are socially connected live longer whether it’s to a family, friend, or community in addition, it kills loneliness.  If you are surrounded by love and life, it’s hard to be lonely.  Furthermore, if you want to learn a new skill or challenge yourself joining a thriving community can help you learn the new skill.

In the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell which is about the best and brightest people and what makes them most famous and successful.  There was a chapter on a community in rural Pennsylvania and the question was why the people in this town lived well into their 90s.  After much research, it was not because of healthy eating, exercise, or any other factor it was because they had a great community.  It was discovered that the elderly spent time with each other, and they lived with their children and not on their own.  So, the community is good for your health and growth.

There was a time when I wanted to learn about stock market investing.  I had very limited knowledge of how or why I would invest in the stock market.  I thought what if I joined a group?  I begin to seek out investment groups.  I found one local to my community.  I followed up with an email to the community lead for the group and I was eventually allowed to join the group and start investing.  In the group, I learned how to look for different stocks and evaluate them.  It was an exciting time and I learned a lot. 

If you are looking to grow in an area you are not familiar with then joining an established community will help you learn and grow.  When looking for a new community there are some key questions you should ask.

  1. Do my values and the community values align?
  2. How often do I want to engage with the community (daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly)?
  3. What is the purpose of me joining or creating this community?
  4. How is the community structure? (face to face meetings, online groups, private social media groups)
  5. What do you have to offer the group and what do you want to receive?

These types of questions can help determine if the group is a good fit.  The community will give you a sense of belonging, allow you to make meaningful contributions while being challenged to grow.  You can display your gifts and talents.  Ultimately, you get more of you by being a part of a group.