I am going to talk in Charleston Wednesday at the “West Virginia at the Intersection of Health and Community” conference. The conference is designed to examine the relationship between the community you live in and your health.

I think there are critical causal interactions to be discussed and I am excited to meet and learn from a distinguished and distributed group of leaders and community members.

I have talked before about the important role that connection has in health and longevity. Connection to people and purpose seem to be perhaps the two most important predictors of a long and good life.

Moreover, having an attitude of gratitude is also very important to the many challenges we all face in our lives. Meeting our trials with optimism and gratitude seems to be another key characteristic of people that live long and well.

We also know that the community we live in contributes heavily to this equation – all the things we know in keeping us healthy that are important are human and interdependent.

JD Vance wrote about this in "Hillbilly Elegy." 

Having people that provide love and safety allow one to create roots and seems to be a key for creativity.

I have blogged about this before as the internet giant Google found that psychological safety was the only thing separating their best teams from others.

Abraham Maslow created the hierarchy of human needs and found that safety and love are critical foundational issues for our psychological growth.

While we see ourselves as separate, independently functioning people in communities, remember that genetically we are all practically the same and in all systems that matter, everything is interdependent.

I believe that is why social networks are so powerful – they reflect the root connection we have to each other, to our thoughts, behaviors and activities.

We need to create communities of love and safety and networks that rely on connecting these principles to spread like a wave over all communities.

Interdependent systems rely on connection, feedback and cooperation to create places where life flourishes.