Do you ever ask yourself that question? I do. Every day. And it’s getting old. Right?
We all have them. Actions or behaviors or habits that we know will make our lives better, our bodies healthier, our world more likely to survive another century without falling into utter chaos.
Yet, we struggle to implement them.
Half the time, I go to bed around 2am, even though I know I do best with eight hours of sleep. The other 90% of the time, I drive my car, even though I live less than two miles from work and I own an electric bicycle. I eat sugar, despite going two months without it and being THRILLED with how great I felt…just like an alcoholic who fell off the proverbial wagon.
The answer is necessary, if we hope to survive on Earth. Even if you and I figure out how to live a perfect, healthy, planetary balanced life…will it matter, if the world around us is sliding into chaos?
The benefit to figuring out what blocks us, stops us, discourages us, and otherwise interferes with US achieving our own personal goals…is that we can better understand OTHERS.
Fundamentally, social policy, regulations, and laws (created at your local community center, school, neighborhood organization on up to county, city, state and national government) deeply impact how the members of our society behave.
Denmark, for example, has literally codified (and provided funding for) the concept of a “healthy work/life balance.” It is a national goal that every person in Denmark be living their best life. In Germany, if you’re still at your desk after 5pm, you may receive an auto-email from your employer saying, “Why are you still here? Work time is over. Go home.” In Switzerland, lunch often involves a spontaneous hike along local trails and can easily last two hours – similar to many who live in Italy and Spain. Elementary school children in Norway and Finland enjoy an hour long lunch with gourmet-quality food, along with 90 minutes of play time, and they only go to school for four hours a day. Do the math. Their children are being taught to value life!
On the flip side, suicide rates are extremely high in Japan, because of what their children are being taught to expect from life. Saudi Arabian men typically have very little respect for women. People in Chinese cities learn to live with 500+ air pollution. Europeans, during WWI and WWII considered cigarette smoking as completely normal, and Americans don’t think twice about guzzling High Fructose Corn Syrup and eating Sodium Nitrites and Nitrates (which are outlawed in Germany – the land of the sausage).
Human beings are social creatures. Our capacity for excellence is impacted by more than just our inner selves. We are impacted by the messages we receive and the lifestyles of those around us. Humans follow, not because they are weak (the whole “sheeples” thing), but because it is how we have survived for hundreds of thousands of years. We are not snow leopards, and pretending that we are is dangerous.
So, how do we find our community of people making better choices? If your family and neighborhood are not a source of inspiration and support, the online community can offer a substitute “supportive environment” for those seeking companionship on the less-often walked trail. Do yourself a favor! Honor the impact of community, in your life. Find your tribe.
Here’s a radio interview, with David Macek, that will leave you feeling inspired and empowered! Also, in the next 24 hours, I encourage you to check out the NW Earth Institute’s April 2018 Eco-Challenge!