6b) Play

6) The Fruits of your Labor

6b) PLAY & PLEASURE 

Live Life and Enjoy the Ride: Sustainable Personal Relationships.

Many social enterprises and nonprofits work very hard to make the world a better place. However, they sometimes do so in a way that is so serious that it becomes dogmatic. Your social enterprise should have ‘fun’ somehow incorporated into its business operations. Both for owners and workers fanatic dedication to a ‘cause’ can be counterproductive. Better to relax a little, have fun and work with enthusiasm.

Sustainable Activist Enterprise and Friendships

 Building a social enterprise or sustainable community can actually help you with your friendships, love life and personal relationships! Our economic model is based on the principle of “Pleasurable Activism”; we try to have fun as we work to make the world a better place! When you enjoy living in this world it gives further fuel to your efforts in trying to improve it.
In addition, you will inevitably form friendships with the people who happen to ‘come with the job’. You spend long hours with your co-workers so of course, you become close with some. However, the true test of the friendship is how often you stay in touch with a person after you’ve left the job. It is natural that many fade over time, but most end right away because the people simply did not have much in common besides the job they worked at.
Alternatively, you may create a social enterprise or sustainable community that is based on your values. When you are making an income providing services or goods that are both sustainable, and in alignment with these values, you can expect to attract like-minded people. When people are attracted to the values inherent in your business project they will have a real desire to work with you. Employees or Volunteers at ethical, fair-trade, advocacy companies tend to be much happier and motivated than workers who are just “Doing a job for the money.”  Additionally, on a social level, these avenues will allow you to form stronger friendships with people who share your views and moral outlook.

Sustainable Enterprise and Loving Relationships

One of the biggest challenges in today’s world is to find and sustain meaningful relationships. Before the 1960’s, society was much more homogeneous and uniform. People shared the same value system because they also shared the same religions and beliefs. Traditional religions like Christianity and Islam are based on strict guidelines, as well as stressing lifelong marriage and monogamy as the pillars of a stable society.

Then came the social revolution of the sixties and attitudes began to change! People stopped allowing religion to play such a dominant role in their lives, and in turn, they began to explore their individual dreams, regardless of relationship status.

The revolution has been great for individual freedom and exploring your personal potential. However, it has not been easy on long-term relationships. Divorce rates have skyrocketed since the sixties especially among people who do not subscribe to traditional religions.
Religions such as Christianity might be conservative but they give followers structure and rules to live by. If a Christian man and woman marry, they have the advantage of starting off with many of the same values. These traditional couples tend to stay together longer, whether happily or not. On the other hand, when a “New Age” man marries a “New Age” woman the relationships often do not last as long.
Once you leave the traditional religion you are free to live according to your own rules. Therefore it may be easy to find a partner who shares common interests but is often difficult to find a partner with a shared value and rule system.
When you create a social enterprise you are creating a value system. If your social enterprise is truly a moral value-oriented business then you will attract partners, workers, and friends who share those values. In the very old days, a man (especially) had to build a house or kill a lion to prove his manhood by showing that he could protect and provide for a woman. That old paradigm is now over. However, the feeling remains of men wanting to create something that will help to attract a suitable mate. Women are increasingly feeling the same. Entrepreneurial women are creating ‘babies;’ businesses that reflect their morals and values.
A business can just be a business, the same way a job can just be a job. However, when one creates a value-oriented business, a statement is being made about who you are and what you believe in. This can be very attractive to women or vice versa. Especially if your values business has a certain degree of success. You may attract someone because of those values in your business, and pursue a relationship together. We would argue that that relationship can more stable and sustainable than if your employment or business does not reflect any particular values.
Like Christian couples who stay together longer because they share the same values, so too, a couple with a social enterprise are also growing and building a value-based system. It is one that also makes them money so it is something much more sustainable!
Miscellaneous Material

Business ideals can cause personal relationships to start, improve or end!

In our social enterprise community, we have noticed how the demographics and characteristics of our visitors have changed over the years. When Hedonisia Hawaii was just a budget hostel, we attracted people who were looking for a cheap place to stay. Many of our guests and volunteers during this time were wonderful but there were a number of visitors who were “criminally challenged!”

As our eco and social activist policies became a more prominent part of our business we found that the people who visited and stayed with us started to change. Lo and behold, we found that more and cooler intelligent, progressive and eco-friendly, idealistic and basically great people were attracted to what we were trying to do. We were no longer just a cheap hostel in Hawaii. The new people who were attracted to our idealistic businesses stayed longer at Hedonisia. They also worked hard and with honesty and integrity. Often when they left, they left as friends!

However, friendships also ended too. Some people did not think our social goals should be as prominent as the eco-tourist side of our community; things became confrontational and those friendships ended.

Regardless, the change was overwhelmingly positive. Now, when we go traveling we have friends to visit in the world. We have stayed with or visited friends from Hedonisia in Portland OR, Barcelona, Spain, London, UK, Copenhagen Denmark, and Amsterdam, Holland. One of the best ways to travel is to meet with a native that you are friends with and share common values.

As eco-business owners and travelers, our friends are often quite similar! In our community of individuals, we respect everyone’s choices insofar as they don’t impose on the community. This has resulted in a relaxed space where people debate ideas in a more positive manner. We don’t just complain. We look for sustainable solutions.

When people are working at a place with ideals they tend to meet other like-minded people! We have had two sets of Sustainable Community Managers meet and fall in love here. In August 2016 two of our serving interns got married on the island! Many volunteers and guests have also formed incredible friendships and loving relationships. This does tend to make for a happier morale and when people are happy they are more social, which makes for a great group dynamic!

On a personal note, putting my ideals into my business brought me love! My girlfriend and partner, Linda, applied to be an Intern at Hedonisia. As she related to me later, when she read the website she was attracted to the values we were working for which made her want to visit our little community. She did visit and ended up staying! We’ve now become loving business partners!