Below is a short discussion inspired by Barack Obama on Episode One of The Michelle Obama Podcast.
The joys and pains of life are meant to be shared with people around us. When we live as a community, we learn to help one another. Together, we lift each other up.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama and her husband former President Barack Obama believe that true progress for us lies in the idea of building a community, and moving towards inclusivity, openness, and we-ness.
There is a common perspective today that success lies in becoming self-sufficient – you become successful when you no longer rely on anyone but yourself. But that kind of success is isolating. The real value of success lies in sharing it with other people.
How do we build that community?
- Learn to engage with other people. We can all learn from each other. Have a conversation with someone from another community. You might be surprised how much more alike you are than you think.
- Share your success with your community. When we give back to others, that’s when we learn to truly value how far we have come. Use what you have as an opportunity to lift someone else up.
- Build an inclusive environment. Whether in the workplace, at school, or at home, communities are built when people come together in a space where they feel safe and secure.
We’re not meant to be alone. We don’t live in a vacuum. When we connect with other people in a community, it gives us a chance at a more hopeful and effective way of living.
the distilld lessons
These are the distilld lessons from Episode #1 of The Michelle Obama Podcast with former President Barack Obama.
Michelle and Barack Obama grew up with relatively different family backgrounds, but they had one thing in common: they grew up within a community.
The joys and pains of life are meant to be shared with the people around us. We’re meant to live as a community. Everyone helps out. No one gets left behind.
Success has a different meaning in a community. Success is meant to be shared with others. It’s not enough to succeed on your own. You have to make sure that the person next to you succeeds, too.
Today, we see a different picture. We equate self-sufficiency with success. We see success as when we no longer need to rely on others and when we can support ourselves without any help.
This idea of success comes at a price though. Self-sufficiency creates separations, and we begin to live in isolation. We forget that we need our community.
Today’s mentality of success comes with the concept of “having it all,” of never being satisfied and always wanting more.
Imagine if we lived as a community instead. We wouldn’t feel that we are carrying such an enormous burden on our own. We would have support. We would have other people to lean on.
The world is changing, and we can’t keep up on our own. The boundaries between communities are no longer as clear as they were. Take it as an opportunity to find similarities instead of differences.
It’s time we start living as a community. In these times, there are things we simply can’t do on our own. Here’s an example: we can’t educate the public on COVID-19 one at a time. It needs to be a collective effort.
Let’s move towards inclusivity, openness, we-ness. It won’t be easy. Change never is. But together, we’ll be on a shared path to progress.
Start having conversations. Engage with the people around you – at the dining table, at work, at school, wherever it might be, we can always build a community.
We aren’t meant to live our lives in isolation. We don’t live in a vacuum. No one is alone.
We’re meant to connect with other people. We’re meant to have a community. And in a community, we can lift each other up.
- Engage with your community. Sign up as a volunteer. Participate in an event. You might be surprised to see how much you have in common with the people you meet.
- Learn that you don’t need to have it all. Success comes in different forms. It’s alright to be satisfied with what you have already achieved rather than constantly pushing yourself to do more.
- Share your success. Success is best enjoyed when it’s an experience shared with others. Take a chance to lift up another person so they can be successful, too.
- Rely on others. Needing help is not a thing to be ashamed of. Allow other people to be with you in your time of need. When they need you, then you can do the same for them.
For a more in depth conversation, the distilld lessons (Extended) are here.