WOW Word-Of-the-Week #428: Community

October 17, 2012 by  

Communitya body of people living in the same locality or having a common language or interest.

Are you involved in your community? Does your business support any local sports teams? Have you ever made a difference in someone’s life through volunteer work?

This is the second WOW from Dustin Wax’s article titled, “10 HARD Ways to Make Your Life Better” on Life Hack.

1. Start a business

My dad, who has been self-employed almost all his life, used to tell me that “Only jerks work for jerks.” Working for someone else puts you at their mercy and subjects you to their whims — and often their poor management skills. Not only that, but the profit of your labor goes into their pockets. Starting a business puts you in control of your work life, and your money. It’s hard — small businesses fail every day. But the rewards of even a failed venture can far outweigh the risk. Just knowing that your failure was the result of your own choices — instead of a decision made at a corporate office a thousand miles away — can be liberating.

My Community of Friends!

2. Organize a group

What makes you passionate? Chances are being around other people who are passionate about the same thing would make you even more passionate about it. Often the only thing keeping you and them from coming together is that nobody’s put out a sign saying “Come and talk!” Getting a group going is a tremendous challenge, and very often the personality of the founder leaves a tremendous mark on the group as a whole. Seeing a group grow and take off can be tremendously awarding — but even failing can teach you important things about leadership.

3. Volunteer
I don’t mean spend Thanksgiving at a soup kitchen, though that can often be challenging enough. What I mean, though, is to make a long-term investment in your community by joining school committees, donating three hours a week in a shelter, hosting a monthly read-along at the library, tutoring at-risk children after school, teaching adult literacy classes at a local prison, or any of a million ways to play a role in the lives of people who need you. Perhaps the most pressing need in our society is for people to take an interest in and engage with their communities.

This week’s focus is on community. How could you become more involved in your community? What activities or interests are you passionate about? When was the last time you volunteered? How did it make you feel to be of help?

Reader Responses

“When I saw the word “community” in your column, I was reminded of a Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine talked about “being ostracized from the community.” Jerry asks, “There’s a community?” Almost as if he is simply living in his own world, with no outside contacts except his small group of friends. In other words, none of them are connected AT ALL to the world around them. After my wife and I found our first house she said, “I really love this location.” It has three parks within a five minute walk, two very good schools and a nice mix of young families and empty nesters – the type of neighborhood or community I grew up in during my formative years in Chicago. People look out for each other and the school provides a nice grounding for our daughters. That is what I appreciate most about our community. When I met the mayor of our village several years ago, I told her how impressed I was at how well people kept up their properties in our community. She said the reason was that many of the people were educated homeowners who took great pride in their homes and – by extension – their community. That has stayed with me ever since. We feel very fortunate to be living where we are. We work with our daughter’s schools and participate in local activities. It is a wonderful feeling that evokes a one for all and all for one attitude. That is what makes living in our community special. ” – “Warrior” Joe

“So many word plays on this; many have the same or similar positively perceived meanings; common unit, or “calm” unity, common unity and one that many see as an antithesis of those positive meanings that one being “communism”. ;-)” – John