Community has Benefits!
The power of community is undervalued, while the desire to be included in a “club” is overvalued.
Humans constantly focus on the value of services which we pay for and undervalue the natural abundance.
I have been fortunate to be part of communities both on a professional and personal level. Communities can be a source of constant growth, lasting bonds, innovation, and much more. One such community I’m actively involved with is the running community. Running communities are inclusive, embracing people from all walks of life. Members range from those in their early 20s entering professional careers, to those retiring from professional life. But when they run, they do it for the love of running.
As a long-distance runner, I have been asked and have asked myself one question time and again:
Why do I run?
The answers vary depending on the state of mind and stage of life. Below were some of my answers:
- Remain active
- Improve focus
- Pushing limits
- Surrounded by like-minded people
- And many more
However, one answer which remained consistent is “running gives me a sense of belongingness & purpose”. Meeting runners from across geographies during practice or at a holding area and greeting each other like “long lost friends”. As runners we keep a tab on fellow runners progress and wellbeing.
I have benefitted from these communities immensely and some are mentioned below.
Learning through social interaction
Community brought back my purpose, both on the work front and in my personal outlook. It served as a wealth of knowledge from all walks of life. The experiences shared during and post-runs range from overcoming deadly diseases to achieving their personal best. Being part of a community makes us agnostic of all other labels, community binds us for the larger good.
I have also realized the importance of discipline, consistency, & being honest to the process, and that these values have compounding effects. These benefits keep multiplying in terms of improving our lifestyle, clarity of thought, problem-solving, etc.
As a community, we share our highs and lows with the group, cheer for the group, and enjoy the wins and losses alike.
Sense of belongingness
Seeing a runner on my way to work or in another city, lights up my day. Cheering fellow runners to cross the finish line makes my heart move just like I crossed the finish line. The community stands with you in your good and bad times - I constantly draw inspiration from my fellow runners.
Community makes the losses and wins neutral among the larger group, this helps me stay grounded. It leaves me with the desire to get better and get on with my next goal.
Communities are playfully infectious in instilling values of pushing mental & physical limits.
The ones you put miles together with, will wait for you even if you are the last to cross the finish line.
Friendship growing out of common goals and intentions are for the keeps. The tears, sweat, cramps, will vanish when you meet your team members at the end of the finish line. Finish-line stories are priceless.
These bonds flourish on selfless love for the people and the desire to learn continuously from the larger group