Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together. – Paul Ryan
A man who came from nothing to something without the help of a single person is an interesting story, however, it is precisely that – a story. In reality, there is not a single human being who has accomplished great things without having someone else to rely on. And contrary to the urban myth of a self-made man, history is full of stories of people who have achieved greatness with the help and support of others.
Even if there ever was a person who had only themselves to turn to, it is certain that they wouldn’t have a long and happy life. This is because social support has a real effect on our health, including its longevity, which means our health improves when we feel like part of a group, not to mention the positive impact on our mental health, confidence, self-love, and self-realization.
The Power of a Community
We, humans, are incredibly social creatures. It is our nature to crave company, so most of us can’t imagine living without interactions with others. You don’t need to read medical studies or go through research data to know that living as part of a community and leaning on relationships with friends and family makes us healthier and happier. Contrary to this, people who are more isolated from others are less happy, their health declines faster, their brain functioning declines sooner, and they generally live shorter lives.
Relationships are connected to some of our deepest emotions. When they are positive, we feel happy, calm, and content, but when they are negative or non-existent, we feel depressed, anxious, and lonely. This, of course, is not limited just to romantic relationships, but all kinds of relationships, from friendships to social connections. Having good people in our lives has a strong impact on our happiness, health, and overall process of healing.
Approach Every Challenge With Your Rope Team
Do you remember the last time you had a peak experience in your life? A time when you got really excited, managed to do the unthinkable, and felt like everything was right with the world? Almost certainly, those times involved other people. A good example of this is the case of Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Although this sounds spectacular, he didn’t perform this feat on his own. Nineteen of his peers (his rope team) reached the summit that day, setting a world record of most people climbing the highest point of Everest in a single day. Since then, Erik has climbed all seven of the world’s tallest mountains, kayaked the Grand Canyon, and started a No Barriers movement, encouraging people to push through their physical and mental challenges.
So, what is a rope team? It is a group of climbers who are tied together by a safety rope. In the context of the No Barriers idea, it is a vital element to having a purposeful, fulfilling, and service-oriented life. A person’s rope team is a group of people that lift you higher, figuratively and literally. They are your biggest cheerleaders, but they also hold you accountable and help you realize things about yourself that you otherwise wouldn’t recognize.
To be a part of such a group, you need to know how to give and take, meaning you should know what kind of support you need and can provide, appreciate collaboration and teamwork, and willingly work to strengthen the relationships in your life. This is essential to your healing work. When you are surrounded by reliable, inspiring people, their energy transfers to you, and you slowly start to discover the true strength and potential that’s been hidden inside of you.
However, the point is not to just fulfill the basic human need for companionship but also to get a clearer sense of purpose. It’s just like in actual climbing – you’re extending one hand towards the person in front of you, expecting to be pulled up, and with the other hand, you’re pulling the person behind you. This is where the real value of community and collaboration shines.
Through your rope team, you’re getting constant unbiased feedback about who you are as a person, your skills, and your abilities. When our trauma and negative emotions cloud us, we can’t always clearly see our strengths and weaknesses. Your rope team can be a great source of such information, so important for your self-development and personal journey.
Another perk of having a rope team is the opportunity to tap into everyone’s knowledge and different experiences. We all have various skills to bring to the table, so this is a wonderful chance to expand your knowledge, deepen your communication, and build stronger relationships. We can always improve on things in everyday life, so having different people to teach and critique you, can be incredibly beneficial to your healing and growth.
Having someone to critique and guide you and hold you accountable for your actions can go a long way. With the proper support and help, you can actually achieve your goals in life, and this is a fact. You are more likely to stay focused, stick to new habits, and have a real sense of progress thanks to your rope team members cheering you on as you’re crushing your barriers.
People of all ages struggle with their emotions, traumas, pains, loss, and problems. Being proactive counteracts negative feelings, so in order to move forward, we need to take action and move. Getting out of bed, going out, and doing something as part of a community allows us to feel more present and aware of the world around us (and in us). By taking action, we feel less fearful or helpless, and hopeless. Quite the contrary, we feel empowered and appreciated, which is a beautiful thing.
There is healing in coming together as a community, and I hope people realize this in their time of need. For my part, I always love to remind myself of the wise words by David Hume: It’s when we start working together that the real healing takes place… it’s when we start spilling our sweat and not our blood.