Nollind Whachell

Researching Creativity, Social Innovation, & The Future of Work

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The Communities Under Your Nose

I was reminded this week that one of the main reasons I enjoy playing computer games so much, especially online massively multiplayer games, is the community aspect. I just love being part of a community and helping others out. However, I quickly realized that it wasn’t just being a part of community that did it for me, it was being a part of a community that shared the same values and culture that I believed in. This is why I’ve been going in frustrating circles lately because while the game itself may be fun to a degree, the people and community around it just left me frustrated because they often didn’t share the same values that I believed in (i.e. Team Fortress 2).

I’m not going to give up though. I mean you can’t go the rest of your life ignoring people and thinking them all the same because of a few bad relationships. You need to have hope that out there is a place with people that are like you. You will find it. It just takes time and a little bit of determination. And even more so, if you can’t find it, don’t be afraid to step up to the plate and build it yourself. Now while I’ve got some ideas in my head for communities I’d like to build (some even unrelated to games), I also realized something very very important this week as well. Don’t ignore the communities that you are already in.

Before I elaborate on what I mean by this, let me clarify something. Communities to me are not isolated environments that we interact with independently. Instead communities are layered one with another, with each one influencing and affecting the other (similar to how cultures influence us and we in turn influence the cultures around us). For example, your home is like a little community in itself. The relationships with your husband/wife, kids, and even pets are all part of this. Even more so, you yourself are a community within yourself. The different aspects of you (mind, body, spirit) all work together to comprise the culture that is you. Thus if you haven’t been eating right, aren’t physically active, and thus feel emotionaly strained because of it, this lack of attention to the community that is you can in turn negatively affect and influence the other communities you are a part of (i.e. home, work, friends, family, etc).

Thus I realized that instead of being so focused on trying to find a new community to be a part of, why not spend more time on the existing communities already under my nose. For example, these past two weeks, my wife has been extremely busy at work, to the point of being exhausted when she gets home. Now normally I make her tea and breakfast in the morning when she heads off to work and I also have dinner ready for her when she gets home but I realized that this wasn’t enough during this difficult time for her. Knowing that there were little things all around the house that needed to be done (which probably stressed her out even more), I spent the entire day cleaning the house so that she could get those nagging things out of her head and just be able to relax.

And you know what, it worked. Not only did she feel a whole lot better, but I felt a whole lot better as well because I gave of myself to a community that I valued which made me feel more valued in turn. Therefore, here’s wishing you a very happy and giving Christmas within the communities of your life. And remember, it’s not so much what you give but the simple act of giving itself.

Merry Christmas!

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