Build Your Community Part 6
In his book Happy, Ian K. Smith argues that happy people have more close relationships, the kind of friendships that take time to build and maintain. According to Smith, (who is quoting the research of Martin Seligman and others) “a strong social network is also associated with lower levels of stress and a longer life span.”[i]
For many in the corporate world, (including myself at one time) corporate idolatry makes close friendships outside of work hard to find. This is the position Sue found herself in, when she worked herself until she was sick. (See this post in Chapter 6)
Smith advises that someone without a network of friends should “put themselves in a position to meet new people.” Interestingly, this is exactly how Sue told me she started to get healthy again.
Sue told me her decision to make a change came on a business trip. Free from the daily meetings that started at 7 AM and often went until 6, she realized that her life did not have time for anything else, and she needed “to go out and get a breath of fresh air.” Sue developed a deliberate strategy to connect with other people.
She said, “I’m not a runner or biker and I needed something to do that I really enjoyed. I like to learn, but I didn’t want to go back to school. I wanted to find something that would challenge me in a way that wasn’t drowning like work. I started photography, I like food, and I love gardening. I started getting involved in my community which is important to me, e.g. a committee to get a new park in town, which connected me to some other committees and projects.”
[i] Happy: Simple Steps To Get the Most Out Of Life by Ian K. Smith. St Martin’s press. (2010) p 190