Better Together

The stories we tell shape our community — whether that’s a community of one or a community of many, in relation to family, friends, coworkers, classmates, our city, congregation, pick-up basketball team, book club or studio class. What’s more, studies that Laura Putnam cites (“Be the Agent of Change”) show how we influence people several times removed. That means the stories you tell about yourself and others can shape not only your behavior, but theirs as well.

Take Bo Eason (“Living Your Dream”), who was awakened each day by his dad with a quick back rub and the whispered words, “You are GREAT.” With those words starting his day, it’s extraordinary, but perhaps not so surprising, that 9-year-old Bo set his mind to becoming the world’s greatest safety player in the NFL, put in the 20 years of work required and was the top draft pick in the prime of his career.

In fact, a single word can transform your story and your world, and in this issue of 24Life, yoga and meditation guru and author Baron Baptiste explains how — with a downloadable meditation you can use.

Sometimes, events force us to change our stories in order to adapt. That can have profound impact on the people around us. Following a concussion, Jane McGonigal (“SuperBetter: Living Gamefully by Design”) saved herself from suicidal depression by inventing a secret identity — Jane the Concussion Slayer — and enlisting her husband, sister and then others in a serious game to vanquish the concussion’s effects. Now a massively multiplayer online game, SuperBetter has been used by millions to cope with everything from illness to job hunting to relationships.

Our exclusive interview with Mark Wahlberg (“Stronger Together”) reveals how the Academy Award nominee engages and enlists others in his passion for his craft, for healthy living and for underprivileged youth. He’s worked hard to evolve his personal story, and his willingness to seek the expertise of others has an impact far beyond his own life, from the quality of the entertainment he produces, to the quality of the enhanced water and supplementation products in which he has invested, and to his community charity.

Better Together

This issue of 24Life is packed with tips and ideas for ways you can shape your story and ultimately, your community. In his recurring column, Jim Kwik shows how you can become a quick study; Barbara Biziou and Joy Principe give tips for making meals with friends — and difficult conversations — more intimate and satisfying. Triathlete Brendan Brazier describes how a “community” as small as two people has evolved into a mission to provide better nutrition and benefit the planet as well. Taylor EyeWalker explains how she creates sacred spaces in relation to people in her life.

Movement is one of the fastest ways to change your mindset — and your story — and that’s good for those around you, too. In this issue, you’ll find martial arts-inspired and yoga workouts that just might change your mind about what you do to get fit. Learn how to breathe your way to better digestion (“Digestive Distress? Just Breathe Through It”), and how pausing with pets (“A Cuddle a Day Keeps the Doctor Away”) and getting quiet with a lot of people (“Meditation Takes Manhattan”) — and taking a break from our stories — can do wonders for our well-being, too.

Your gym is your community, even if you say no more than hello to the team member at the front desk. With each visit, you begin to notice some of the same people working hard toward their goals, and that’s where your shared story begins. 24 Hour Fitness member David Blair (“Walking 5 Kilometers in David Blair’s Shoes”) came to the gym with a goal to walk again. He began to make progress, at first with Fitness Manager Matthew Griffin, and then in GX classes, and most recently, with a 5K walk that was incredibly arduous for him — and inspiring for the community. Our 23,000 team members are here to help you live the life you want, too. Want to share your story? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter, @24HourFitness, #24Life.

You Say What?

How many times have you complained to another parent or player, “They always schedule the games too early, so I can never make it on time!” Or, to a coworker, “They always schedule meetings over lunch so that I can’t take a break and go for a walk — and my doctor told me I need to walk at least 30 minutes a day!”

Who are “they,” and how did “they” get that much power? Here’s how it happens.

The phrase that degrades: They did it

Why this holds you back: The word “they” is abused constantly in our society. It’s a subconscious way to remove responsibility and accountability for the situation at hand. Casually saying “they” without being specific puts distance in relationships, distorts facts and makes it challenging to move towards action. “They” phrases cast blame — and also take away your own personal power.

The phrase that empowers: We did it

Here’s why this phrase gives you power: “We” is a word that sets into motion collaboration, partnership and resolution to a challenge, problem or opportunity. The word in essence forces you into solution mode, because no one wants to say, “We are the problem” (as in, “We make it hard to get to games because they’re at 6 p.m.”). Most of us would rather say, “We are going to schedule the games at 6:30 p.m. so more parents can attend, and chip in on the field fees.” Or, “We are taking a 30-minute lunchtime walk, rain or shine, and we’ll take our cell phones so that we’re still available if someone needs to reach us.”

“We,” of course, is not possible without the individual, and the fastest way to get to “we” is to acknowledge and examine your role and participation in any conversation or action that you take. In doing so, you speak for yourself and allow others to do the same, so that you have a new ability to see reality with more clarity — and get creative to meet and engage with anything that comes your way.