This week, I discuss a topic that for some is taken for granted, for others neglected, and for all of us, whether we are young or old, is the true secret to not only happiness but living a long life.
And I’m not talking about anti-ageing creams, botox, ketogenic or paleo diets (although diet is a significant factor in longevity).
I’m talking about being involved in your community.
This week, I discuss a topic that for some is taken for granted, for others neglected. And for all of us, whether we are young or old. Is the true secret to not only happiness, but living a long life. And I'm not talking about anti-aging creams, Botox. Ketogenic or paleo diets. Although diet is a significant factor in longevity. I'm talking about being involved in your own community. There are plenty of athletes, dieticians, philosophers, personal development, gurus, et cetera. That can tell you how to live a long life. I ever met an American bio hacker when I lived in Chiang Mai in Thailand. Who tested out an enormous amount of technology diets, electrical pulses sent through his body and brain all in the name of finding out which gadgets or new techniques could make him live longer. I looked at his face and there wasn't a smile when he was talking to me about all these contraptions to make him live longer. And it made me question everything. He was exploring testing. On his biology and running his own scientific experiments. You see, I believe there is so much wisdom to be found by speaking to people who are living a long and healthy and happy life. There is particular wisdom. And learning from people who are facing their own. Imminent mortality. And I've mentioned several times in this podcast about Bronnie Ware's. The top five regrets of the dying. Based on interviews. I have hundreds of people who were in a hospice. And knew that only had days or weeks left to live. Asking, what were their biggest regrets? Finding the commonalities from these interviews, Bronny, who's an Australian palliative care nurse. Who conducted these interviews, shares insight, which every one of us, however old or young, financially rich or poor, happy or sad right now can learn from and change their life strategy as a result of this knowledge to burn from within. In case you're curious. Here are the top five regrets. Number one. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself. Not the life others expected of me. This was the most common regret at all. Number two. I wish I hadn't worked so hard. Number three. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. Number four. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends and number five. I wish I'd let myself be happier. And going back to my strong belief that there is so much wisdom to be found. By speaking to people who are living a long, healthy, and happy life. I came across this incredible book. Years ago, which I've read many, many times and made copious notes from called ikigai: the Japanese secret to a long and happy life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. In this book, the authors conduct in-depth interviews with people living in Ogimi in Okinawa province of Japan which is home to a significantly higher proportion of some of the oldest people in the world. Here's an excerpt from the book. A peaceful life in the countryside seems pretty common among people who've watched a century pass. Without question. The international superstar of longevity is Japan, which has the highest life expectancy of any country in the world. In addition to a healthy diet and an integrated healthcare system, in which people go to the doctor for regular checkups to prevent disease. Longevity in Japan is closely tied to its culture. The sense of community and the fact that Japanese people make an effort to stay active until the very end are key elements of their secret to long life. If you want to stay busy, even when there's no needs to work. There has to be an Ikigai on your horizon. A purpose that guides you throughout your life and pushes you to make things of beauty and utility. For the community. And yourself. Here's some fascinating insights from the interviews in this book. 100% of the people interviewed. Keep a vegetable garden, I'll probably come back to that in a future episode, to this concept of having something to tend to. Very similar concept to two children or having meaningful work. And really giving a sense of purpose in life all belong to some form of neighborhood association where they feel cared for as though by family. They celebrate all the time. Even little things, music song and dance are central parts of daily life. They're passionate about everything they do. However insignificant MIT team. Locals have a strong sense of Umaru. Recognizing the connection between people. They help each other with everything from work in the fields, harvesting sugar cane or planting rice. To building houses and municipal projects. They are always busy. But they occupy themselves with tasks. That allow them to relax. The researchers of the book didn't see a single old grandpa sitting on a bench doing nothing. They're always coming and going to sing karaoke, visit with neighbors or play a game of Gates bull. There are no bars and only a few restaurants in But those who live there enjoy a rich social life That revolves around community centers The town is divided into 17 neighborhoods and each one has a president and several people in charge of things like culture festivals social activities and longevity Is this sense of community that we may lose when we leave our job, or if we don't have a family nearby us. Right now I am what some people call a digital nomad. I've been living away from the UK for several years now. the UK was my home for most of my life. My sense of community might be different. To those who stay where their families are based. And yet. When I was living in London. My sense of community people who I regularly connected with was derived from work colleagues. Occasionally seeing friends from university or home. Or my mum and dad every few weeks. That feeling I had when I was at university and all of my friends live nearby. And we're so much more available to meet up. Was taken for granted at the time until I was out in the big, bad world myself. To find that sense of belonging. Was rare. It seemed. Among many of my peers. When I lived in St. Alban's just outside of London. I knew no one there. But a small community of neighbors all in the same row of terraced Victorian cottages. And it helped, I lived across the road from a lovely pub. Itself, providing a venue for community. Made my sense of belonging, happiness, togetherness connection, a whole new experience. When neighbors started to move away from our street. Because of having kids or more kids. The dynamic has certainly changed. And so the quest. To restore community began again. As a side note, many new apartment buildings. Now that I've noticed, particularly in big cities like London or incorporating areas to socialize with neighbors from the same building because of this need for connection. And so when I traveled away from the UK with no community coming with me, I made it a conscious choice, a strategy. To either find communities in the local area where I lived to plug into and get that sense of belonging. Or create my own. In 2018. I started a small meetup group called Chiang Mai at life is beautiful. With the sole purpose of bringing people together, forming new connections, friendships I organized fun day trips at the weekends to waterfalls. Bamboo rafting with elephants, arranging private conversations with respected monks in the community to learn about their values, culture, and traditions Camping trips, road trips. Some people that were only in town for a week, others stuck around and came back again and again, from having no community. To a small community of people that I regularly hung out with. I could ask to a group dinner frequently, have fun adventure in connection with made all the difference to my life. And from feedback from others in the group. Made a huge difference to their lives too. Many of the people left again to go back to their home countries. Or explore a new part of the world. The adventurous souls that they were in fact, I too left and came back several times, continuing my travels and finding new communities and Switzerland Portugal. Bali India and other countries. And on one of those trips. When helping to run an NLP retreat in the Himalayas. I spent time living amongst locals in small villages in the Indian mountain region of speedy Valley. I'd never seen such big smiles on humans' faces before. It was widespread. The whole community had this kind of happiness infection. It seemed. I asked the head monk from key monastery Who personally knows the dalai lama and is highly respected in the entire region. why people seem to be so happy in this area. Yet their financial wealth was so much less than anything we're used to in the West. One of the things that struck me in what he said was that they give to their community. They have strong communities. It is a part of the culture. And indeed Buddhism, which was a philosophy practiced. In the area. Taught these values from a young age. And so here I am now in Bansko, Bulgaria. A tiny population of just 12,000 people. How you might be asking, could I possibly live here and be happy? And it just so happens that four years ago, a German man by the name of Mathias. decided he wanted to live in the mountains and build his own community. He started a coworking space, so he could work amongst other remote workers, but more so to create this vital sense of belonging and community. There are several people that have bought decade. Passes to this coworking space, which is a Testament to the value. Of the community now built here. And just like when I was happy living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, or back in St. Alban's in England. Now I'm living amongst an amazing community of like-minded people with meetings organized most days of the week events on hiking group skiing and snowboarding trips. Movie nights, et cetera. Perhaps your community is having a family kids. Parents to love for and careful at the end of the day. It's about regular, meaningful human connection. My grandmother was a very active member of her community in the tiny village of Taynuilt in the West Highlands of Scotland. She was known by everyone there. I'm regularly visiting her friends, playing games, singing songs she played golf until their late eighties lived a long happy and active life until her nineties You can create communities anywhere you are. Whether in the workplace. At home. In countries all around the world and plug into existing ones too. Because it's not just for the benefit of your mental, physical, and emotional health. It helps all those you regularly connect with live happier and longer too. So I want to pose this question to you. As a core strategy for your happiness. Longevity and to burn from within. How actively are you involved in your local community right now? However you define it. How can you keep strengthening this vital ingredients, your happiness and longevity. On a regular basis. And what impact will this make on others lives when you do so? If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to subscribe to the band from within podcast. Tell your friends about it. And leave a review or you can do so by going to rate this podcast.com forward slash burn from within that's rate, this podcast.com forward slash burn from within follow the instructions on that site, according to your own. Podcast platform that you use. Until next time live with passion purpose and balance and burned from within