Your Tribe Has Your Back

There is a boatload of research that shows we are our happiest when we are around people we like. We gather with people who are like us, because it gives us comfort and support. This is an essential part of being human. We have evolved to be tribal.

We do this in political matters all the time. When Rick Santorum says birth control is the primary tool of chaos in society, we get together online and in person and we who disagree rally against him. We share posts and links and pictures. We shake our heads in disbelief, together.

When people of religious faith are attacked as being slaves to dogma, we rise up and we push back. We do this as a tribe, a group with common cause.

It seems that we tend to get more fired up about causes that affect big groups of people, as opposed to fervent passion about our individual values. Sometimes we are actually willing to (yes) sacrifice a little self-interest in the name of protecting what our group feels is sacred.

It’s the collective consciousness we share with the members of our tribe.

People who windsurf on weekends are a tribe. Friends who spend time together, that regular group who marks anniversaries, birthdays and holidays frequently as a group are exhibiting tribal behavior.

How many times do we gather with our friends and share stories about how rotten we feel?  Loneliness and isolation generally occurs (obviously) when we are alone. We are our saddest when no one else is around. There’s evidence our permanently perky Facebook friend’s status update can actually make us feel like losers on occasion. We think to ourselves, “They’re always having so much fun…”

It’s so easy to like people. Being around people you like is just plain fun. You want to help them, you give them gifts, you have their backs.

Bill Wilson knew this when he formed Alcoholics Anonymous back in the day. You had a sponsor to call if you felt a tug to drink. You had a place to go to hear and share stories with people who were facing the same issues you recognized. You know that you weren’t alone in your battle.

The French philosopher Voltaire once complained that “Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road”.

There are always people (and groups of people) who will tell you something can’t be done.

We rally most effectively when we have someone to rally with us.

If you are trying to reinvent your life and/or your career, going it alone seems absurd, doesn’t it?

Negative people will tell you that it’s a crazy notion to try to do work you love. They claim that if everyone did it, everyone would be broke. They believe that sometimes you have to do things you loathe in order to be rich and successful.

I shake my head. So the great painters, sculptors and designers of the planet should have gone into finance?

I’m not talking about creating some Utopian universe, void of challenge and conflict. It’s about upping your game a couple of notches. It’s about climbing out of bed in the morning and not dreading the laborious commute to the miserable job. There will always be people willing to mail it in, suck it up and just get through life.

Fine. That means more opportunity for you- you who wants to do just a little bit better.

Locate your tribe. Discover a group of people who share your passions. Hear their stories, and tell them yours.

I’m betting on your tribe.  I’m cheering you on.

One hour a week for five weeks: The Reinvention of You on Skillshare.com, beginning April 2.  Learn more about this private online course by clicking here.

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