I’ve been known to leave my MacBook at Starbucks.
Well, I guess I should clarify. I don’t leave it long. In fact, it’s usually only for a few minutes for quick trip to the bathroom or out to my car. Still, just a few minutes are ample enough to steal an expensive product like a laptop. So, why I do trust strangers so willingly?
I do it because I want to believe the best in people. I want to believe in community. And it works. My MacBook is always there, untouched, when I get back.
Now, there is a strategy to it. Before separating from my laptop I always make eye contact with at least three people seated at surrounding tables. After eye contact, come the smiles. I acknowledge my community, sometimes with just the smile, sometimes with a compliment and sometimes with a little ditty about the weather. I establish my community, and subsequently, that community keeps my expensive stuff safe.
If all this sounds too utopian to you, I want you to know that it isn’t. I spent eight years of my life living in academic communities that placed a high value on an honor code. The idea was that we lived in adherence to a credo promising not to lie, cheat or steal. Doors did not have locks, exams were not proctored and you could leave a $50 bill on the floor of a hallway without anyone touching it. Seriously. When the honor code was violated, immediate dismissal of the perpetrator ensued. The community was sealed by a mutual pursuit of honor.
We are sealed in this world together, and how we define ourselves is how we will be defined by history. The bottom line is, we can all make the world a better place. The world becomes better any time each one of us commits to honor the highest integrity that lies within us. By being someone worthy of trust, we are more prone to trust others. The best way to make the world better – that is, to actually contribute and to be of maximum service to others – is to be the best you possible.
Being the best you possible doesn’t have to require a lot of time. In fact, it can start with just 15 minutes a day. Martin Rooney, a friend of mine, recently posted a blog (read his blog by clicking here) proposing that in just 15 minutes a day, or 1% of our total day, we can become better versions of ourselves. Imagine the compounded possibilities of what 15 minutes a day can do to for you, and, more importantly, for the world and community around you.
Celebrate community. Create it around you wherever you go. We need one another and the world is waiting for you to make the first move.