The Community Mentality

What distinguishes a leader from a community leader? An entire philosophy.

In this article, I introduce the mentality of the community-builder. It will transform how you do business, how you connect with others, and how you view community-building. Prepare for a paradigm shift.

I often tell people — community-building has been a spiritual experience. I tell them this because I want to emphasize the difference between community-leadership and executive leadership. It’s a different attitude. It’s a different method.

Operating VYVE, my entrepreneur’s association for human connection professionals, gave me the chance to practice the community mentality. After 6 months of trial and error, the mentality has forever changed how I view leadership.

The community mentality….

It’s behind-the-scenes, altruistic, empowering, opportunity-creating, and generous. It relies on patience, selflessness, and trustfulness.

In one sentence: an attitude characterized by a sincere desire and excitement to elevate others and set them up for success.

Organically, I have adopted the mentality. I think it is because I have experienced the intense fulfillment and connection that accompanies making others feel good, proud, and fearless. I have helped countless community leaders face their fears, try new things, and prevail. 

What is the method by which the mentality drives people forward? Instilling self-belief in others and creating fertile environments for progress.


I tell people everyday that they are more capable than they know. I remind them of their past achievements. I tell them how important their work is. I acknowledge the progress people are making. All of this does one thing. It cultivates belief in oneself.

If I try for long enough, I can and will succeed.

When we adopt the mentality of a community-builder, we are reminding people to believe in themselves. We remind them the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Fertile Environments

Practically, those who’ve adopted the community mentality share the spotlight. They bring people into the spotlight. They build platforms and show off the work of others. For a great example, you can check out my newsletter, where I feature 4 human connection professionals every week and mention countless.

Not only do they feature and spotlight others’ work, they build platforms for people to do their work. They introduce potential collaborators to each other. They send out personalized resources.

The common theme is that they are an ambassador for the person’s initiative. They are serving with no expectation of return, merely for the joy of giving.

How do you adopt the community mentality? The community mentality makes life more fulfilling. It gets you high off empowering others. It gives you the kindness bliss. So, here is a checklist for adopting the mindset.

Ask yourself how you can help others first — the community mentality is based on service. It’s about amplifying the work of others by cultivating fertile environments and self-belief. When you help others, they will trust you and naturally want to reciprocate. What goes around comes around.

Give credit away — when you succeed, tell everyone who helped you succeed. Others are much more responsible for our achievements than we think. Every time you hit a milestone or get attention, use it as an opportunity to acknowledge the values and character of your community members. Here’s an example: every time I recap a community event, I recognize the participants who contributed to the event.

Focus on community success — individual success is often prioritized over the success of the community. This mentality encompasses different metrics for success. Instead of your own wealth and status points, look to the collective wealth and status of the community. When we cooperate, everybody wins and we end up with more well-being and wealth than if we just focused on ourselves.

Ask people how you can serve them better —open the channel of constructive feedback between the community leader and the community members. This reminds them that it’s safe to be candid and that your purpose is to serve them. Do what you want to do by all means, but don’t ignore the problems your community members face.

Seek to interconnect — the more interconnections within a network, the stronger the social glue becomes. As a community leader, I introduce people to one another all the time. I am always asking myself at the end of my interactions with others: Who do I know who could play a part in this person’s success?

My greatest guidance for adopting the community mentality is to shift your self-talk from ME to WE. Catch yourself when you’re thinking about WIIFM — What’s In It For Me. Instead, ask yourself how you can conveniently amplify the work of the person in front of you without falling into a helper’s complex.

So go out into the world, and during your next interaction, try out the mentality. It will take time to integrate so be patient.

I write a personal newsletter serving 903 human connection professionals in becoming world-class facilitators, entrepreneurs, and community-builders.

The Party Scientist’s Lab 💥 🧪

The Party Scientist’s Principles for Living Life Alive

Let’s get serious — I have collected a few principles for thriving.

This document is categorized into four: expectations, principles, algorithms, and beliefs. Algorithms are specific actions that are taken under a specific set of circumstances. Principles are broader categories of actions. Beliefs are cognitive and pertain to how I perceive the world.

Love is the ability to see another’s perspective. Wisdom is the ability to let go of all your perspectives. Power is the ability to get others to see your perspective.

Expectations about the world

  • I expect things to go wrong, to not go as planned.
  • I do not expect others to keep their promises.
  • I do not expect others to be non-conformist, independent thinkers.
  • I do not expert others to have an organizational system and calendar.

I’m tired of being frustrated that most humans are zombies. They soak in their Netflix and follow the prescribed social norms. I realize that this is how the world is designed. The hyper-capitalist world we inhabit has programmed people this way.

  • I do not expect others to be present-minded.
  • I do not expect others to be conscious.
  • I do not expect others to be psychologically stable and calm.

Here’s why I am an advocate for having low expectations for others: happiness. When you expect others to act consciously, you don’t get your hopes up. Consistently, I have been let down. I have been left out. I have felt alone. No one reaches out to me. This is the lonely journey of being a giver. You are rare. Most humans do not give, do not create experiences for others. It’s unfortunate, but true.

Beliefs about myself

  • I have limitless self-control.
  • I have complete control over my body and mind.
  • I have no control over the moment.
  • I have control over outcomes over time.

Beliefs about others

  • Everyone is doing their best with the best available information and cognitive capacities they possess
  • Humans are quite sensitive and defensive.
  • Everyone is my coach for enlightenment.
  • Malice can often be attributed to mere incompetence.
  • Other people are allies, not obstacles, to my success.
  • Potential contact is always there for all individuals.


  • I pick up the trash of my guests.

As a facilitator and practitioner of service-based leadership, I make it visible that I am here to serve. I take pleasure in raising the rapport of those around me. I make it known that I am below my constituents.

  • I change my situation, not my willpower.

I know that relying on willpower is a short-term and exhausting play. Changing the situation such that there are no temptations, such that the default path takes you to success is much more powerful.

  • I apply buffers.

Expecting that things will not go as planned, I apply buffers. I have reserves. I have cushions in my schedule but also in my resources. I pay attention to the planning fallacy, so I plan accordingly.

  • I have no demands on the moment.

However the moment evolves is ok with me. Because I have no expectations, whenever something goes wrong, it does not affect me mentally. whenever I feel frustration with the moment, I remind myself of this.

  • I avoid the fundamental attribution error.

I know that there are more multiples invisible reasons, which go beyond one’s character, that explain unfortunate events or harms.

  • I do not attach to influencing how people behave.

When we attach ourselves to having influence over someone, we lose the influence. When we apply force, we become powerless. When we push, people push back. This principle is also related to the reasons why I avoid convincing and recruiting people. Instead, I let their passion come forth naturally.

  • I am virtue-finding instead of fault-finding.

Humans are fallible, fragile creatures. They are also filled with love and expression. When I look for virtues, I will find them. When I look for faults, I will find them in everyone. I choose to search for the virtues and focus my attention on the beautiful parts of human nature. I want to bring out virtues in others. Until they show me they are not worthy of my trust, I will find and recognize their virtues.

  • I am curious by default.

When my body starts to feel resistance. When I have an urge to disagree, I default to curiosity. I seek out more information. I broaden my mind and learn more. I diverge. I do not jump to conclusions. I do not act on being triggered. I take a walk.

  • I take action before I am 100% ready.

The truth is, I’ll never be 100% ready to do anything. Waiting to be ready is a perfectionist’s action. Learning occurs when you are not ready. When you are challenging yourself.

  • I focus on the 1 percent that leads to 99 percent of the results.

This is simply the Pareto principle, over and over again. The tasks that i focus on are what I call system-amplifiers. They are about creating systems of automation, outsourcing, and employment.

  • I practice coachability.

This one trait encompasses forgoing being right, de-escalating conflict, absorbing destructive or constructive feedback, and seeing the bull-shit of others as teachers.

  • I make others look good.

This is about raising the face of others, giving them credit, introducing them fancily, and continually complimenting them meaningfully. I give others the spotlight so that they can become successful.

  • I seek the truth however much it hurts.

Seeking the truth is about embracing bad news. It’s about going outside your perspective and forecasting the worst-case scenario. It’s about embracing a little healthy pessimism.

  • I say no by default.

I think things through before saying yes. This ensures that what I am saying yes to is a Fuck Yes. Saying no gives my body the time to be aware of itself.

  • I speak with a high signal-to-noise ratio.

This world is saturated with ramblers. They say the same thing over and over again multiples times. This programs others to not listen to them intently. I want everything that comes out of my mouth to be highly valuable and succinct.

  • I celebrate to motivate myself.

Too often we celebrate only at the end. When we break down milestones into smaller steps, we can use celebration as a source of motivation forward. This also applies to when I complete a task that required a lot of willpower, such as a new habit.

  • I diverge and then converge.

Before making conclusions, i take the outside view. I broaden my perspective. I seek out new information. Once i have collected the relevant statistics, i make an informed choice.

  • I have faith but confront reality.

Humans are naturally optimists, due to the confirmation bias and our narrow view on the world. Confronting reality is about being a wide-eyed realist. Having faith is about being belief-driven. Knowing that suffering is temporary and that consistency is the greatest determinant of success.

  • I motivate myself intrinsically and integratedly.

This is about finding the enjoyment in the activities you dread. It’s about re-programming yourself to enjoy an experience, or pivoting to an alternative activity that you do enjoy. Integration is about identification. When we integrate a behaviour or goal into our identity, we are much more likely to be motivated to pursue it.

  • I have no destination.

The moment is the end. The moment is the end. Meaning, the moment is all we have and when we focus on it, when we focus on the means, the end comes naturally.

  • I take calculated risks.

I make decisions consciously and slowly. I consider the outside view. I brainstorm what i may not know. I calculate the likelihood of different scenarios.

  • I embrace intelligent failures.

Intelligent failures are failures resulting from calculated risks. Resulting from experiments that were well thought out and had risk. Preventable failures, i do not celebrate.

  • I boost others’ sense of autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

(1) Autonomy — the desire to direct our own lives; (2) Mastery — the urge to get better and better at something that matters; and (3) Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

  • I recognize more than I criticize, at a ratio of 6:1.

Due to the negativity bias, we need much more praise to offset any criticism.

  • I present solutions.

Before presenting problems to others, I try to figure out the solution on my own. Often, with just a double-check, I will solve the problem. When we ask questions, where the answer is readily available if we had just looked it up, it illustrates to others that we are incompetent. Look before asking. Don’t just ask. although encouraging people to ask for help is great leadership, we must be cautious to not encourage dumb questions. Dumb question-asking is an act of giving up one’s independent thinking ability.

  • I source my self-esteem from my progress, purpose, and people.

This is in contrast to focusing on winning instead. The comparative analysis kills joy. It raises our expectations for how we should be living.

  • I unconditionally accept others.

This means I do not wish that they change. I make suggestions, but I love them regardless of whether they heed my suggestions. I do not resent the people who choose not to evolve. I distance.

  • I do what I say and say what I mean.

Nothing comes out of my mouth without a commitment to myself and my action. I do not want to be the boy who cried wolf. People adapt gradually to what you say. If generally, what you say is trustworthy, they will see your word as the word of Christ.

  • I favour the process over the outcome.

Process orientation aligns with the logic that “the moment is the end.” The outcome usually depends on luck. However, when we focus on the process over and over again, the influence of luck dissipates. Life is better when we enjoy the process.

  • I specify when and where I will do something.

The more specific I can get with my commitment, the more likely it is I will succeed. This principle mandates the use of rigorous scheduling systems.

  • I say thank you 20 times per day.

I practice gratitude in many ways. But, this way is simple. I say thank you when people do things for me, small or large. When someone fills me with joy, when someone calls me, when someone invites me. I find reasons to thank and recognize the generosity of others.

  • I spend my weirdness points wisely.

i don’t spend my weirdness points on lookism. I am wise with how I decide to spend them. If I look different, and think different, people will be less likely to be open to my thoughts than if I just thought different.

  • I spend my money on creating experiences for others.

If there is one principle in this essay that is most correlated with my happiness, it is this one. I live and breathe bringing people together. This is how I want to spend my money. Good company is worth all my money.

  • I live unrushedly.

Luxury is the privilege of not having to rush. Most of my poor decisions have resulted from too fast of a pace. Slowing down the pace of my decision-making and relationship building has proven effective for long-term thinking.

  • I identify root causes, not villains.

Often, beneath the villain, there is a cause. Often, the cause is not a human. It is a choice architecture or a system. The sleepy pilot is not at fault. So, when someone makes a horrible mistake, I look for the underlying system or lack of one thereof. Consider the time you crashed your father’s car, Jacques.

  • I think on a multidimensional spectrum (non-binary).

People are unique. Situations are nuanced. Consider the human body. Gut bacteria can cause depression. If I spend more time identifying the nuances, I get closer to actual reality.

  • I respond with I don’t know.

Knowledge is constantly evolving. To claim that you know something is to deny the fact that things are impermanent. Appreciating your own ignorance and collecting more data is a good approach to decision-making.

  • I do not delay crucial conversations.

Lying is the opposite of embracing crucial conversations. These conversations take place because I want to cooperate with others. I want people to regard me as someone who tells the truth in an empowering way. Empowerment feedback is the type of feedback that I practice.

  • I trust myself because I am accountable to myself.

In David Goggins book, he talks about the accountability mirror. This is his method for holding himself accountable. He asks himself in the mirror, ‘are you one to do that? Are you trustworthy?’ He embraces the reality of his integrity. Although social pressure is stronger by default, relying on others for accountability is weaker than relying on yourself. Your mind. Your voice.

  • I do what I can do with stamina.

Stamina is the greatest predictor of success. By nature of the compound effect, when an action is repeated consistently over time, luck and chance circumstances fade into the background. It is inevitable that a behaviour will achieve a result if repeated infinitely.

  • I dig beyond the opinion.

Beneath every opinion, there is a human experience. Humans have opinions because of their experiences. once we identify the experiences, we have a lot more patience in understanding one’s (potentially alien) opinions. It would make sense for someone to believe in conspiracies if their parents had been wronged by the justice system.

  • I make it fun to make it consistent.

I tap into intrinsic motivation to keep my habit and project engines churning. When we sincerely enjoy the journey, the activity no longer requires motivation. We look forward to doing it. Finding a means to enjoy or gamify monotonous tasks is one of my favourite life hacks.

  • I do not manufacture consent.

Manufacturing consent is about pressuring or manipulating people into doing something that they really wouldn’t want to do if they were left to themselves. The opposite of this is to allow people to be attracted to your project, community, or just YOU.


  • When judging whether to trust an expert, I evaluate whether they have skin in the game.
  • If someone is eager to say something, I implore them to share it and validate them.
  • When someone shares good news with me, I practice active constructive responding.

How I Built A Global Human Connection Movement.

This is the story of a different type of community. It’s a long, arduous, and emotional one.

Read this if you are passionate about In-Real-Life community building and bringing humans together in healthy ways. This is written for facilitators of human connection.

In this article, I chronicle my process for building and launching an online learning community in three months, scaling the community to 50 members and igniting a global value-based movement.

VYVE is a global human connection movement about empowering more humans to access the benefits of the elixir of life that is Community. Apply to join here.

In 2017, I started throwing sober parties and gained my craft in facilitation. In 2020, I started building conscious communities. It was in October 2020 that I woke up to the power of community building.

Building a community will scale my impact, raise my sense of purpose, and create passive recurring income.

October 2020

Amidst the pandemic, my co-founders and I were scrambling. Our event model was being torn to shreds by the new restrictions in Vancouver, Canada. We had planned a bunch of dis-dance events with the goal of creating an outdoor health phenomenon called vyving.

We were crazy. Winter was coming. The pandemic was raging. Regardless, we dived in. Thanks to my biz partner’s courage, we believed we could make it happen. We believed we could popularize an intense biohacking practice based on the health benefits of human connection.

We were not wrong. But outdoor events became illegal. This led us to pivot.

After our final event, a secret mission on Halloween, we were back to the drawing board. When would we launch our vyving classes? When would events become legal again? What would we do in the meantime?

It was around this time that my self-doubt started to increase. One of my business partners decided to leave two weeks earlier. There was a lot of uncertainty in the air. Momentum was stalling.

November 2021

Toper, my other business partner, and I spent the month of November in reflection and learning mode. We spent the month finalizing some key documentation about our movement and community. Toper was transitioning to a new job, so we had a lot of time to read, write, and synthesize our philosophies.

During this time, the bedrock of the VYVE manifesto was constructed. But also, the bedrock of the VYVE community. In November, we determined who our niche was and identified dozens of people who we wanted to enroll in our movement. This is before we saw VYVE as a community business. We still saw VYVE as a class-based model like CrossFit.

We used the template from Belong by Radha Agrawal to identify the core values of our community, the purpose, and the brand. In one epic brainstorm, Toper and I came up with the 5 V’s of VYVE. You can find them in the manifesto.

I totally geeked out and learnt all that I could about community-building. I read countless books and started to follow famous community builders. I joined Discords, discovered Circle, and started to play around with Slack. I read the Art Of Community and started writing an internal document called Community Infrastructure.

I wrote about my lessons publicly in an article titled: I am building the most advanced community ever. It’s not a cult.

All my lessons I applied in a community I had started spontaneously for my friends in August of 2020. The Slack group had continued until it was shut down in December. This group was not intended to be the product. But it served as a learning ground for the launch of the VYVE movement.

Key Lesson #1. Launch before you launch.

I had launched a community on Slack and used it as a testing ground for different apps and engagement strategies. This group, called the League of Revyvers, was where my introduction template, core channels, and central activities were invented. I learnt the hard lesson that community-building is a long-term game. Especially if you’re migrating your community off of the main platforms.

Also, the community has to be reallllyy good for people to stick around. Meaning, the signal-to-noise ratio must be verrryyy high.

Key Lesson #2. Maximize the signal-to-noise ratio.

December 2020

In December, I ramped up my community-building efforts while my business partner started his new job. This is where I dug my heels in and wrote the first iteration of the VYVE manifesto. It came across as quite judgemental toward people with materialistic values.

I sent it to my most critical-thinking friends and received tons of feedback on the core philosophy and values. Before the critique, I was demonizing materialism and wealth. I soon realized I did not want to exclude people who like nice stuff. So I re-edited it. Largely thanks to Ashton Addison.

Thanks to Christopher Ravadilla, who had recently read Dancing in the Streets, the manifesto incorporated the history of community and ritual. Positive psychology was also emphasized in the manifesto, based on my revelations from reading Lost Connections, given to me by a good friend Brad Lancaster, a master community philosopher.

It was in December that I clarified the future of VYVE. This happened organically. As I learnt more and more about the exciting community-building space, I realized there was no reason VYVE could not be a global collective and identity. Plus, in 2019, I had returned from an international party research expedition and had met hundreds of international facilitators, such as Adam Wilder — who I regard as my greatest ally.

I had the network to make this happen! Given that our vyving class was not going to be possible until COVID was over, I made the decision to make the community the product, not the practice of vyving. This is after I learnt about the relationship between the people attending and the event experience.

Who shows up at your event dictates the quality of your event.

After deciding to start a global community for facilitators of human connection, I followed my instinct to reach out to people like that.

I remember a call with Adam where I pitched the idea to him. This is after I had drafted the first proposal of the community published on December 14. He was not too receptive. He gave me a lot of feedback. I implemented it and sent it back. Multiple times.

Get down a written proposal. Send it to people that its intended to serve.

The proposal that I had written was essential for communicating the value proposition of VYVE. It was my key collateral that I sent to my network. It is embarrassing to look back on it now.

Throughout December, this is what I did: I sent the proposal out to my community-builder/human connection friends and solicited feedback. I iterated the community proposal again, again, and again.

Over Christmas, I spent the days reflecting and cold-plunging. More importantly, I read Healthy at 100. And this reinforced the VYVE philosophy ten times. Excerpts from the book are now included in the manifesto, and I have considered sending all new members of VYVE the book. My greatest takeaway is encapsulated by this snippet.

In Okinawa, Hunza, Vilcabamba, and Abhkasia, there is a deep sense of human connection and social integrity. People continually help one another and believe in one another — John Robbins, Heatlhy at 100 (pg. 284)

With a renewed confidence in the VYVE philosophy and my purpose in life — to bring back the depth of community characterizing centenarian villages — I asked myself. What now?

— A founding member launch.

January 2021

I had learnt about the founding member launch from a friend and mentor, Jan Keck, founder of Ask Deep Questions. He was in the middle of launching his own membership community for facilitators. He told me about Stu Mclaren, and I read the guide on

After a wonderful NYE parade in the rain co-hosted with the supportive @Charlotte.rhythms, I started to plan my founding member launch.

Before this, I finalized a new proposal/invitation (likely the 20th version) and published the VYVE Community Code. All my community infrastructure had to be set up before I started recruiting members.

My community infrastructure included the following:

  1. An onboarding procedure.
  2. A community platform — core channels and apps for the slack community.
  3. A code of conduct.
  4. An application form.
  5. An acceptance form.

I built the full customer experience and had my friends go through it. Thank you Pierre for the wonderful feedback.

The customer experience began with the letter of nomination. From there, readers clicked on the application form. They received an email from me which rationalized their application and conveyed exclusivity. Then, they received an acceptance form. The acceptance form contained expectations, standards of participation, and terms and conditions.

Afterward, they received an email from me with the onboarding protocol. Back then, it was wayyyy too complicated. So it has been massively simplified since January.

Emphasis: The application form was an extremely important touchpoint. It went through five rounds of feedback. I designed the form such that it showed off the value of the community to the applicant. Why did I implement applications?


In December, I finished reading Priya Parker’s book called The Art of Gathering. In it, she introduces the idea of Inclusive Exclusivity.

Inclusive exclusivity is the act of excluding people who do not align with the purpose of your gathering for the sake of including those who do.

In other words, for your niche to feel fully included and authentic, you have to exclude people who would dilute that feeling. I often don’t feel like I can dance at fancy nightclubs. It’s because the people there are not my tribe. And they’re drunk, I’m sober. When the people there are not your tribe, it’s not easy to express yourself authentically.

Based on this, I decided early on that I wanted my community to be inclusively exclusive. This meant that I had them go through multiple application forms to get in. And then an onboarding procedure.

I even had them read the manifesto before applying.


The acceptance form was just as important as the application form. When members were accepted, they were offered a position within VYVE. The acceptance form was conveyed as an offer and agreement. To accept their offer, applicants had to acknowledge the community code, the 5 Vs of VYVE, and the shared responsibilities of being in VYVE.


My network likely expanded 3X in January. After finalizing all the community infrastructure, I started identifying people in my network who I would want in VYVE. I had already a massive network from travelling the world.

My outreach approach was collaborative. I asked for feedback. I asked if they wanted to be involved in building the VYVE Alliance. I sent them the proposal letter and requested a meeting with them. What I found to be effective was meeting with them first, before even inviting them to be a part of VYVE.

Humans love other humans. Show off your human nature before pitching them.

A lot of the lead identification had already been done. For years I had been creating a network database containing people with my beliefs and passions. So, all I had to do was look at my excel sheet and reach out to them. Network management comes in handy.

I followed up ruthlessly. I recruited a bunch of high-profile movement builders such as Peter Sharp and Nicole Gibson. What I soon realized is that I recruited them. They did not organically choose to be in VYVE.

This was my greatest downfall in creating VYVE 1.0. People who didn’t want to be there, or who could not benefit from being involved in VYVE had been recruited into the community. More on this later.

By the end of January, I had 27 members of VYVE. They had all gone through the acceptance form. And they were all signed up for the opening ceremony.

How I designed the opening ceremony and the first month

I wanted the opening ceremony to show off the awesomeness within VYVE. So I drafted a presentation with one slide for each founding member. During the ceremony, I personally introduced each member with their slide and they followed a structured introduction to the group. Then they led a short activity to their favourite song for the entire group.

The intros went overtime because some people did not stop talking. So the second half of the opening ceremony, which focussed on public commitment to the mission and values of VYVE, was rushed. In this section, I explained the mission of VYVE and every member signed the slide digitally. There were numerous slides. This was the mission slide.

After the opening ceremony, VYVE kicked off with a weekly event. There were four types of events: learning discussions, human connection labs, peer support circles, and ask an expert Q&As.

In retrospect, there were way too many events.

February 2021

With all my infrastructure in place, February was about getting as many members as possible to events. And collecting as much feedback as possible. Every week, there was a different event, at the same consistent time. This maximized attendance.

I spoke to members regularly. I scheduled an optional community infrastructure meeting. I setup committees. I solicited feedback. I prodded people. I sent voice messages.

It was very difficult to keep engagement high. In all this, I learnt that people are overwhelmed easily. So, I reduced the number of channels on Slack to the bare minimum. I set the expectation that events are the most important form of community participation.

It didn’t work. People did not show up at events.

Then, I had a really important call with Jan Keck.

If it’s not on their to do list, they won’t show up. — Jan Keck

This is when I realized that my events were not helping people make a livelihood. VYVE events were fun, but nonessential.

Near the end of February, I collected 20 feedback responses that reinforced this realization. One of the questions was about a fair price for the month of membership. Some of my best friends told me they had not received any value. Zero dollars. It really hurt. I took it personally.

But it helped me come back to consciousness.

March 2021

In March, I came to the uncomfortable realization.

I had convinced people to join who really did not want to be there, and who really could not benefit from being there. This was a difficult realization. Because people didn’t want to be there, it destroyed the sense of engagement in the community. I actually discovered that I had to restart.

Screen people for dedication, not expertise or followers.

After reviewing the feedback responses, I realized the importance of committedness. Community members will not experience any benefit from your product if they are not committed to trying it out. I had numerous community members who just didn’t have the commitment. They wouldn’t participate because they had no reason to.

If you have successfully targeted a niche, they will be naturally committed to trying your product.

I had invited people who were not my niche. They were not in a place to benefit from participating in my community.

So here came the great revival. I realized I needed to relaunch. I needed to remove the community members who didn’t care at all. I needed to build a program that actually got members to commit. So, I built the Try-VYVE program — a four-session program intended to showcase the benefits of peer accountability, learning, and support — the three pillars of VYVE value proposition.

In March, I took off the throttle on the actual community and refocussed on program development and outreach. A few community members were integral in building Try-VYVE. Melanie got me to simplify and crystallize the offering. Emily got me to use more inclusive language and practice more transparency.

New community infrastructure was built. The most important document was the welcome letter — this included a roadmap, a checklist, and some welcoming words. Every participant would receive it, and it would be their program guide.

To relaunch, I used to send out personalized ‘prelaunch invitations’ to my newsletter list and all the previous applicants to VYVE. I sent about 3000 personal emails. I made the recipient feel like the prelaunch was not public… and it wasn’t.

I designed new Typeforms for accepting and evaluating applicants. Both of which blatantly laid out the necessary commitments. I even turned on the ‘force to click all’ function.

I hired a virtual assistant to direct message people on Instagram, post on Facebook groups, and collect email addresses. This was likely one of the best investments of my life. It led to around 5 booked meetings with facilitators every week. These meetings went very well. I showed off my human nature before officially nominating them to join VYVE.

My goal was to onboard 50 members for the first cohort. From my pool of existing and new applicants, I got 57. In this process, I had numerous existing revyvers leave. It forced me to learn an important principle.

When people who are not your niche leave, it’s a positive signal.

Ever since learning this, I have made it very clear. VYVE is intended for facilitators of human connection who are building purpose-driven communities. It’s not for Instagram influencers who like selling things to their audience. It’s not for filmmakers. It’s not for actors.

I sent the new 57 member the welcome letter and the checklist that they must complete to be eligible for revyver status. How I framed the checklist is that joining VYVE must be earned; to become a revyver, you must complete the checklist in full. If you don’t, apply again and good luck.

I subtly communicated this over and over again: you have to earn your membership to VYVE. Unlike most communities, where you can just buy your way in, VYVE requires an application and commitment. Being an active participant is much more important than paying more, in my books. This is why the pricing of VYVE will accommodate lower income levels.

During onboarding, I set up phone calls with new members Lucy the self-declared Co-op Nerd and Marco the Authentic Relating Master. I got to know my new community members and found out the stage of their community-building they were at.

Before the opening celebration, I filmed special dance videos for all the new members. In the introduction template, it featured ‘favourite song.’ I took the song and filmed myself dancing to it. Then I posted it publicly in Slack.

Design of the Opening Celebration

Compared to the first opening event, this one got way more positive feedback. I designed it to maximize interactivity. So, I created speed vulnerability sessions — every participant would go through 5 five-minute sessions where they were paired up to pay a game called “If you really knew me, you’d know…”

Before the speed sessions started, I shared the story and passion I have for VYVE. I talked about the origins of VYVE in my experiences leading hundreds of sober parties.

I even made an April fool’s joke that Facebook and VYVE were entering a strategic partnership. It got everyone laughing.

After the speed-vulnerability sessions, we ratified various codes. We digitally signed the manifesto, core beliefs of VYVE, and the program expectations. Finally, participants were assigned to breakout rooms of three to complete their ‘hive check out.’ This is a ritual a part of VYVE where peer groups regularly share their goals and gratitudes.

This is as far as I have gotten. To be continued!

Community is an Antidote to Pessimism

There’s a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about the future of humanity. Here’s why I am an optimist.

Read this to give yourself a dose of optimism and to learn about the potential of community to save humanity.

Let me tell you about a legend in the pharma industry.

There was once a medicine with infinite healing capacity. It had an infinite supply. It was free and accessible to all humans. It required very little technical expertise to manufacture or administer. Every human, regardless of their age, could naturally manufacture it at any point.

Sounds unrealistic, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s not. This medicine exists today. The research still suggests its superiority. And, all humans still have access to it.

That medicine is called community.

Community is a type of a social network characterized by regular and supportive human contact, and a feeling of mutual care and cooperativity.

When I studied pharmacology in school, I didn’t believe in such a legend. I thought drugs had no replacements. I thought prescriptions were necessary for optimal longevity. My classmates and I listened and absorbed what our professors taught. We had become indoctrinated.

Then, I started leading street parties. And my life changed. I had discovered a phenomenon that was much more powerful than any medication I had taken. That phenomenon was mass emotional connection.

Emotional connection is felt. It occurs through touch, eye contact, and shared expression. Emotional connection can also occur through intellectual connection, or ‘knowing’ someone.

Ecstatic partying aside, I had discovered the power of unified human expression and synchrony. And, my path took a turn. I started exploring public health and substance use, and the role that human contact plays as a preventive. There was no going back to conventional medicine after that.

During my study of public health, the seeds of my current life philosophy had been sewn. Never would I have known that I would be such a community geek after 5 years had passed.

Never would I have known that my life’s mission would be to restore human contact in western culture, because of the strong-held belief that it’s the most effective health-hack on the planet.

How I have evolved… 😅

I believe community can solve the societal problems of our time. When you study these problems, it’s difficult to not catch the pessimism flu.

Let’s take a dive into the societal problems of western culture (modernized, urban life in most of the world). Let’s focus on America, and begin with the leading causes of death in America.

CDC Gov.

Cardiovascular diseases, Cancer, Alzheimer’s. These are all lifestyle diseases. And accidents? Well, what if I told you that this category is dominated by motor vehicle accidents. Hmmm. Sounds to me like these deaths might also be related to our lifestyles. Hint: Alcohol consumption.

Now, let’s talk about suicide, loneliness, and depression. Yep, let’s go dark. The statistics are dark as well. Even before the introduction of the iPhone, all three have been going up.


In summary, the American way of life has a problem. Mental health is declining rapidly and the greatest leading causes of death are inactivity-, diet-, and alcohol-related. We’re not a very healthy culture.

But there’s more to be pessimistic about, isn’t there? There are gender wars, racial wars, pay-equity wars, privilege wars… and these wars are pretty much happening between two political poles.

Finally, there’s the war waged by technology. What I mean by this, is the constant struggle between our discipline and intentions and the allure of social media and screen time. We are being sucked into their devices. Our happiness is being dissolved by the commoditization of attention.

 — wow. Lot’s to be unhappy about. Preventable diseases, tech-addicts, and seemingly un-bridgable divides. Western culture sure is great.

There’s a solution to all of this.

Community is the antidote.
Community is the medicine.
Community is the solution.

Well, not the root solution. But an intermediary for sure.

Let me tell you why.

Community has the potential to cure our culture’s preventable diseases, tech-addictions, and political divides. Sure. But how do we create community?

To create community for all requires communitarianism: a shift in our cultural values from individualism to collectivism. From ego to unity. From personal achievement to group achievement. It takes a systems approach. To make community the default way of life requires an overhaul of western culture. Then, community can work its medical magic by reinforcing the social bonds, peer support, and social trust in our cities.

This is another article entirely. So let’s focus on how community can heal the big three sources of pessimism for humanity.

Preventable Diseases

Relationships reduce our stress, a factor in all the leading preventable causes of death. Close relationships are the greatest protective factor against mortality according to research in Growing Young by Marta Zaraska. Specifically, ‘committed romantic relationships’ have almost twice the effect of diet or exercise.

Human contact, both physical and emotional, releases oxytocin. And this is a stress-reducing neurotransmitter.

There’s a lot of research about the links between mortality and relationships. I am not going to bore you. All I will say is that relationships are good for preventing lifestyle diseases and recovering from them. The mechanisms involve stress, leisure time, time outdoors, and likely many more!

Community is the bedrock that naturally creates these protective relationships.

Tech Addiction

The opposite of addiction is connection, said Gabor Mate, the renowned addictions physician from my hometown of Vancouver Canada.

When we have peer support, we can cope with cravings. We can rely on others in difficult periods when we’re likely to relapse. We can talk to people about our issues.

Not only are caring relationships a means out of addiction, but they are also a means to prevent it. When we spend more time with others, we spend less time on screens. When we are enjoying the company of others, we are less likely to give into the instant gratification machines. Being alone can lead us into a downward spiral. Social connection is a much healthier distraction from any discomfort.

Political Polarization

The mere exposure effect: The more we see someone, the more we like them. Interacting over social media breaks this rule, because we do not experience the emotions and humanity of others.

The more we hear each others stories in real life, the more we cooperate and care for one another, the more we learn about each other, the more we feel each other’s emotions, the less likely we are to label, accuse, and stereotype “the other.”

Community and cooperation go hand in hand. And cooperation leads to the breakdown of hatred and othering. When we come together in person, we see the virtues in one another more than we fault-find each others’ dogma.

For all of this to happen, community must be face-to-face. This is why I define community as involving human contact! It is very difficult to hold contact with another through the internet.

I guess this means that we community builders need to spend more time building REAL communities, instead of merely online ones.

More technology is not the solution.
More money is not the solution.
More GDP is not the solution.

The solution is simple.

Design our societal systems to foster community, not competitiveness. To cultivate understanding, not stereotyping. To boost social trust, not cynicism.

Community is the antidote. It is the medicine we have been waiting to develop. It is the penicillin of the 21st century.

Just wait.

— The Party Scientist
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7 Essential Steps to Build A Cult.

What’s the difference between building a community and building a strong one? Read on.

Read this if you want to learn how to build a stronger-than-average community. I will be explaining how I have implemented positive and healthy features of cults with the objective of building a strong and interconnected community.

Cult — caring, understanding, loving tribe. Kidding.

You cannot avoid it. If you build a strong enough community, it will be labelled a cult. This is why I regard the word with positive connotations.

Think about some examples: The CrossFit Cult, the Soulcycle Cult, the Peloton Cult. All these companies have built amazing communities around their brands. Their customers are loyal. Their customers subscribe to their values and show them off.

As community builders, I think we should aspire to be labelled cult leaders.

Sure, there are definitely negative features to cults: the discouragement of dissent, power imbalances, groupthink, authoritarianism, lack of transparency, exploitation of members, and the degradation of members’ self-worth. To name a few. I do not advocate for these. These are manipulation tactics, not community-building tactics.

What I do advocate for is going beyond community-building. Giving members identity and unity. This is what cults succeed at.

So, what are the positive features of cults that community-builders should emulate?

A strong life philosophy.

An identity for members to adopt.

A strong ritual infrastructure.

A ceremonial onboarding procedure.

Socially-enforced norms, such as love-bombing.

A declarative manifesto.

High EQ community leaders.

Ready to dive in?

1. A strong life philosophy.

I have spent years and years developing the life philosophy for my community. A life philosophy defines the criteria for what a good life is. A good life, according to VYVE, is encapsulated by one sentence:

The authenticity and vibrancy of our personal relationships is the strongest indicator for a good life.

This is based on countless books I have read. Underlying VYVE’s life philosophy is a swath of research articles and historical texts. For some cults, religion is the underlying bedrock for their life philosophy. What I have done instead is based VYVE’s life philosophy on the science of human well-being.

When a philosophy declares what a good life is, it attracts people with shared values. It polarizes people. This explains why there are no hyper-capitalists within VYVE.

Cults have strong belief systems. They declare what a good life looks like, they declare behaviours and goals to live a good life, and they make a statement about how the future should be.

Stories are one way to communicate the life philosophy of a community. In my case, I share stories of spreading belonging and joy in public. The goal is to demonstrate the 5 V’s of VYVE in a visual way: vulnerability, vibrancy, venture, vibe, and vitality.

A strong life philosophy defines what a good life is, the behaviours for living a good life, and how your members should serve humanity in a way that promotes those behaviours. Cults have defined life philosophies.

2. An identity.

I came up with the word Revyver to reinforce my members’ sense of identity. I want them to identity with a movement. A movement about reviving a sense of community in western culture. I want them to regard themselves as making a huge impact in the world.

Cults create an identity around a life philosophy. They have titles for their members. They have secret terminology. They know what it means to be a part of the cult.

I have cultivated an identity for my community members by:

Giving them a name: revyvers

Giving them a shared mission and reminding about it.

Publicly reinforcing behaviours that align with the life philosophy.

Designing an opening ceremony with verbal affirmations.

Throughout a community’s documentation, the identity should be reinforced. The shared mission and values must be referenced in the code of conduct, in the onboarding, and in meetings. This is why I always include the mission statement slide at the beginning of my community meetings.

This deserves some emphasis. The WHY of your community is central to the identity. For VYVE, the WHY is to give more humans access to deeper forms of human contact. Humans thrive when they have a purpose. They thrive when they are serving humanity. This is why I have spent a lot of time thinking about the larger picture for VYVE.

The last thing I want is my community being regarded as ‘just a membership business.’ I want to create a movement.

3. Ritual infrastructure.

The power of ritual. It’s rarely applied. I have been to thousands of events. I have participated in hundreds of communities. Very few of them leverage the power of ritual. Cults do.

I regard rituals as pauses in an event where everyone’s attention comes together. Rituals are unifying processes. They often involve group-witnessing and structure. There is a shared intention in rituals. Participants are doing the same thing to achieve the same result.

Rituals reinforce your community’s sense of belonging. They strengthen the life philosophy and identity. They cultivate psychological commitment to your values. They bond your community members.

You can design rituals to open and close events. To welcome newcomers. To recognize contributors. And to celebrate milestones.

My favourite ritual of VYVE is called vyving. My hope is that vyving becomes a normalized practice for all community facilitators. Vyving is defined as spreading joy and belonging to strangers in public. It is a radical act of vulnerability and vibrancy. Often times, it involves music, dancing, and funky outfits. The best moments of my life have been vyving.

Vyving to me represents a temporary dissolution of social distrust and demographic differences. It is the ultimate unification.

My recommendation for community builders is to develop consistent traditions in their communities. How do events begin? How do events end? How are people recognized as becoming moderators or leaders? How do you remind your community of its purpose?

And what I will leave you with is this: You can achieve a lot more emotional impact when you synchronize human effort and attention through ritual.

4. An onboarding ceremony and protocol.

Speaking of rituals. What is the most important ritual? Your first impression on your community members! The onboarding process is essential to cultivating excitement, belonging, and identity for your newcomers. With VYVE, I created an entire checklist and event for this process.

The checklist details steps on how to receive and offer value within the community. Don’t keep your members wondering how they can contribute. There should be a path that members can follow.

What’s by far more important than an onboarding checklist is the onboarding ritual. For VYVE, I designed an opening ceremony. It was structured. It involved dance. And at the end, we all signed the VYVE manifesto. Yep, over zoom.

One thing that cults excel at is their structured onboarding. More and more commitment is asked of members as they go through the process. How cults design their opening ceremony is intentional. They leverage ritual and social proof. All members do something at the same time. So, if you don’t do it, you feel left out.

Incorporate ritual and your community’s core beliefs into your onboarding process. You may just match the loyalty of a cult.

5. Social norms

Cults have codes. There is an implicit or explicit understanding of what behaviours are acceptable and what are not. One behaviour that is often socially-enforced in cults is love-bombing. This is the enthusiastic welcoming and accepting of new members into the cult.

For VYVE, I have explicitly described the social norms I wish to reinforce in my code of conduct. I want my community members to welcome one another. I want them to attend events instead of participating in messaging. And I want them to refrain from sharing anything from VYVE with the outside world, without explicit permission. These are social norms, and you bet, I have to remind people of them all the time.

I would recommend detailing a list of social norms (behaviours) explicitly and sharing it with your community for feedback. Taking the lead from cults, you can reinforce those social norms through rituals. One thing I am considering at VYVE is to start meetings with a confidentiality ritual to remind everyone that vulnerability and authenticity are possible in VYVE.


The VYVE Manifesto.

This is about values. What does your community prioritize? What does your community wish to accomplish? What are the underlying beliefs that explain these objectives?

Your manifesto should turn some people off, and turn others on. For example, the VYVE manifesto turns off people who are hyper-capitalistic and who prioritize material gain.

Cults do a great job of communicating how they see the world, how the world should be, and what a good life is. Explicitly illustrating these worldviews and life philosophies in a manifesto is a fantastic way to cultivate your following. You can also design rituals around the acknowledgement of the manifesto.

I am considering sending my member a paper copy!

7. Emotionally-intelligent Leadership

In the case of cults, leaders leverage their EQ for their gain. In the case of strong communities, leaders leverage their EQ to strengthen the bonds with their members and among their members.

Emotional intelligence is the basis for deep relationships. Emotional connection is a natural source of psychological safety. If we cannot respond consciously to our own emotions, they will tear apart our relationships. If we cannot respond supportively to others’ emotions, they won’t feel heard or included. Bonds stay superficial without EQ.

High EQ leaders praise their members. They validate their members’ emotions. They do not let their emotions rule their relationships. A single bout of anger does not lead to the exiling of community members.

Cults often have very charismatic leader, too. This is a plus for community leadership, as well. When you feel fully and understand clearly someone’s devotion to a cause, you’re more likely to trust them and believe them.

We can learn a lot from cults. They have advanced community infrastructure, including rituals, social norms, belief systems, and onboarding. We can learn a lot about what not to do as well. Don’t hide information from your community. Don’t repress dissent. Don’t shame people. Don’t foster elitism. Don’t isolate your community from the outside world.


A lot of people are going to be alarmed that I wrote this. It’s perhaps a little provocative, but I hope you go out and become an aspiring “culty leader.”

And with that exit, join me and 1750+ facilitators at my Lab, The Party Scientist’s Lab 🧪

Master bringing people together.
Hack your performance.
Grow your community.

— The Party Scientist

The story of my Ph.D. in party science… the only one.

Yes, I am serious. Party science is a field of research that I am trailblazing. I created it for the sake of public health.

In high school, I was a lonely, stressed-out, video-game-addicted ass-hole. I had so little emotional intelligence that I lost my first job, my first girlfriend, and all sense of belonging. I had very few real friends.

This all changed after I arrived at University. I started partying. A lot. Putting myself into new social situations changed me forever. Because during every party, I faced my fears and forced myself to develop social skills… I was doing it all sober.

It’s a long story, but while attending my first music festival, sober-partying became part of my identity. This was before I knew about party science, its ancient history, or its positive effects on the brain. This was before I was convinced that it was a solution to many public health problems.

It was in 2015. I found an artist pass while volunteering back-stage at Squamish Valley Music Festival. With encouragement from my side-kick Julien Hart, I decided I would do something crazy with the pass.

At prime time that night, I went to the main stage, entered back-stage, positioned myself right below the DJ, and launched myself off the barricade into the crowd. Not a single drop of alcohol in my system, I crowd-surfed for almost a minute. I lost my phone and both IDs.

I had never felt so alive and connected to everyone in my life. Thank god I have a video of it.

This experience was my first experience of flow state, and it led me down the path of becoming a party scientist. I wanted everyone to feel as alive and accepted as I did. And I knew it was possible sober.

During my pharmacology degree, sober partying was my classroom for learning how to release stress, get into flow, and overcome self-consciousness. I would literally be so ‘High’ on life at some university parties that people would ask me what drugs I was on, sometimes the whole party would cheer me on, and other times I would get the whole crowd following my lead while smiling and laughing.

I loved partying so much that I decided to work as a festival medic for 4 years. As a medic, I realized that most people did not know how to release their inhibitions or get high-on-life without drugs and alcohol. I realized that party culture was plagued with disconnection.

In one instance, I arrived on-site to respond to an alcohol poisoning in the campground. I found him after charging through a sea of tents, unconscious, face-down. In his vicinity, there were fifteen people taking shots in a circle and no one cared to check to see if he was alive. It disgusted me and showed me how unconsciously people were partying.

Pemberton Music Festival was one of my first festivals as a medic.

Responding to overdoses, suicidal episodes, and fights traumatized me, but also inspired me to change how people were partying. Partying for me was an antidote to stress. It filled my life with meaning and electricity. It gave me a sense of belonging. It was healthy. It helped me thrive.

For so many others, it did the opposite. It was unconscious. It was superficial. It was inauthentic.

With a new mission, I started studying public health. I forsook the path of becoming a doctor and launched a renegade party company called Party4Health instead. The mission was to create a world where partying was healthy.

This is when things got interesting. Under Party4Health, I led renegade sober parties. Hundreds of them. Hike raves, beach parties, barge parties, train raves. I got to the point where I was leading thousands of strangers through the streets. During these parties, all demographic differences dissolved. The group harmonized. This was group flow.

My parties were all powered by a giant speaker I was given by Gary Lachance, the SOUNDBOKS.

I honed my ability and techniques for giving people healthy highs. Running parties became this laboratory for me to experiment with all the ways that humans can reach a flow state by connecting with each other.

After two years of throwing massive parties, getting interviewed by VICE and Global TV, and partnering with festivals like the Vancouver Pride Society and Shambhala, I decided I wanted to think bigger.

So, in 2018 I did something crazy. I planned a grand tour, called Party Sober All Over. I took my best friends with me and we traveled through the US in a big RV. In every city, my friends cheered me on as I threw a party at the local university.

Brad filmed the entire thing.

But, there was something wrong. People were not resonating with my message. They kept telling me to stop judging people for drinking. On this trip, I learned that I was judgemental, and that I was preaching sober partying. I was alienating the people I wanted to serve.

This hit me during a meeting with one of the founders of SOUNDBOKS, Hjalte. My mission was not to promote sober partying. My mission was to develop a new form of partying where the connection was more meaningful, the energy higher, and the egoism lower.

In this realization, the VYVE movement was born. I embarked on a new mission: invent a new form of mental health practice based on partying, but different. I called it vyving.

The new mission attracted another mad party scientist, Christopher, whose passion for mental health motivated him to join as a co-founder.

You may be wondering. What the hell is vyving? At this point, it was still in its infancy. I still didn’t know what it was. Chris didn’t either. We still didn’t know much at all about human connection or party science.

All we knew was that we craved the flow state we experienced when we led massive parties. It gave us a high that lasted for days.

This was not for long. With the birth of VYVE, I started researching partying seriously. I read books, interviewed party starters, and did experiments. I learnt that humans are hard-wired for sharing joy with another. I learnt that even cavemen did it. I dived into the mental health implications of a practice of ‘vyving’ and I was convinced it had the potential to transform our emotional well-being.

With my aspiration to become the world’s first International Party Scientist, I embarked on my first international party research expedition.

And this is how I earned my Ph.D. in party science. I stayed with locals, ignited hundreds of parties, researched hundreds of others, got invited to private retreats, and met dozens of professionals facilitators and researchers of human connection.

One facilitator who had a massive impact on my trajectory was Adam Wilder, whose retreat on the mediterannean island of Malta accelerated my maturation into a party scientist by years.

My lessons, interviews, and adventures laid the foundation on which vyving is based, a framework for reaching flow states through human connection. I was slowly figuring out how to hack peak states by leveraging group celebration.

Returning from expedition, the pandemic hit. And it was a blessing.

I took the party science insights collected during 400 parties in 13 countries and distilled them into a full framework and belief system. The philosophy of vyving was created because of COVID.

It took over three years for vyving to crystallize into what it is today. The experiments took place on the mainstage of festivals, the subways of New York, the streets of Amsterdam, the beaches of Vancouver, and the airplanes of west-jet. Too many party starters to credit. And an unknown number of hours of silent reflection.

Today, vyving is its own form of practice that leverages concious partying to hack the well-being benefits of group flow state.

to vyve /vīv/ (verb): to reach a state of flow through dancing, singing, and playing with other humans.

Everyday, people ask me what is vyving. I get a flashback to the moments of flow states with hundreds of others. Then I respond: “Vyving is a practice for your health and happiness. A weird one.”

— — -

In our world today, the quality of our human connections is being attacked; we’re growing addicted to screens, we’re rewarding fakeness and materialism, and we’re working ourselves into depression.

Toper and I started VYVE to revive the joy and life in our human connections.

And this is why Chris and I will be building the movement until the day we die.

Human connection is the antidote.