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The Community Habit

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Human beings are not meant to be alone. For tens of thousands of years we have lived and worked in groups. We relied on them. For food, for shelter, and for safety. We relied on them for friendship, connection, and validation. And we relied on them as an environment in which we could express who we were.

And yet today we do a lot alone. As societies grew and stabilized, we didn’t really need to rely on the people around us for food, shelter, or safety. And we started to isolate into smaller and smaller groups. But in spite of our control over our physical environment, we never lost the basic need for connection, for validation, and for self-actualization. And these are only possible with other people.

The power of community is huge. Do you know when we get to feel it most in the modern day? When tragedy strikes. Picture the last disaster you heard about or were a part of. Remember how people came out, came together, and committed to a common cause. And in spite of the fact that something terrible happened, everyone felt something amazing. That’s the connection we are hard wired for.

That’s why we play this game in teams. There is nothing more motivating than working for a common cause. For seeing the importance of a mission and knowing how much you can accomplish if you let yourselves rely on each other. Building a community committed to a lifestyle is the surest way to get to live that lifestyle after the Challenge ends. The game ends, the community lives on.

We don’t need to wait for tragedy or disaster. We can come together around powerful causes. We can recapture the power of community and harness it to create something exciting and new. The fact that we don’t have to worry about food, shelter, and safety leaves us free to experience community, connection, and self-expression in ways our ancestors could not have imagined.

You are not alone. You were never meant to be alone. Everything you have done during the Challenge has created the real prize: the prize of community. It’s a habit. Practice it like every other habit. It’s the most powerful one you’ve got.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.