The Qualities of Truly Successful Communities

Jim Ellis

A successful community! Sounds easy enough.

Let’s see – what could be needed? What are the ingredients of a successful community? In order:

  1. People – Some gathering of more than one humanoid, possibly a bunch of em
  2. A dictator – let’s call him or her a “leader,” who rules uber alles
  3. Rules – to control the population for ease of cohesion
  4. An agency – paid by the population, it can keep people in line if they go out of control in any manner
  5. A prison system – to keep any insurgents out of the way

Sounds heavenly to me!

Sadly, this form of community may reflect the path of least resistance … for a time.

Sadly, this may be what comes with lazy leadership or overbearing ego-driven leadership.

Sadly, this may be the the form of community for those who either hold super low self-esteem or those with too high self-esteem.

Albeit, this scope of imagery here may be blown out of proportion for this article, perhaps to the level of state or national government, but some of the concepts can apply when we consider the question: “How the heck do humanoids gather together so that the pursuit of happiness is available for all?”

Hyperbole aside, for a community or any gathering of “two or more,” there must truly be some very vital elements.

And it all starts with one thing: a common voice.

That common voice must be an expression that represents the good of all the community. Such will entail:

  1. A foundation of common qualities, values and beliefs that bond the community members together at their core.
  2. The voice of the community members, so that each member speaks his or her mind – giving value to the community and actually defining it with its complete expression.
  3. The opportunity for a free and open dialogue. 

The other aspect of a successful community comes in the form of structure. Needed:

  1. A structure that will allow the common person’s voice to be heard, whether in a vote, a public forum or the like
  2. A structure where leaders can take in the other voices of the community
  3. A structure where the leaders’ representation and efficiency are held accountable, every step of the way

A real challenge to the success of communities is when groupings, or populations, become too large.

Can you really fight City Hall? Can you really meet with and express anything to your state’s representatives? Does your one vote every two or four years really make a difference? Really?

Once the community gets so large that you don’t even know the name of the chief or the medicine man, then that presents a problem.

Perhaps there is a wisdom in cutting the entire community into smaller elements, for the sake of workability and for success.

With the right sizing, the right structure and with everyone having the opportunity to co-create a successful community, the most important ingredient for success still resides in one place: You.

You must speak. You must take part. You must stand up and be heard. You must own your territory, your community and the life you bring to it.

Good luck in all your gatherings that include you … and a whole bunch of other humanoids.

James Anthony Ellis is an award-winning playwright, journalist and filmmaker, who is the author of eight books, including the men-focused “The Honor Book” available HERE.

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