Valuing The Drive To Belong

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My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.

Action Summary

  1. Seek to belong to something more important than simply satisfying your own ego
  2. Develop strong and positive relationships to help you make life better for those around you in your professional and personal life

The WHY:

Many of your happiest and most memorable moments in your life will usually involve others.  According to research by Nohria and Lawrence1, human beings have an innate drive to belong, to be a part of something.

Whether that’s a relationship with another human being, being part of a family or an extended family, being part of a work team, a community group or being part of a movement to change the world in some way for the better.

Put simply, the relationships in your life matter. This includes your relationship with yourself.

Relationships are earned, built and maintained based on trust – the confidence you have in your self-trust, the courage you have to trust in others and the combined competence and character you require to earn others’ trust.

Aligned with Nohria’s and Lawrence’s research suggesting humans have an innate drive to belong, other research2 has demonstrated an association of a higher sense of flourishing in life when people report to having a sense of belonging to something that is bigger than themselves. This might be a charitable cause, a religious community, a socially responsible organisation or even (and importantly) part of a loving family.

Where do you feel like you belong? Who gives you that sense of belonging? Where else might you find meaning and an even greater opportunity to develop more confidence to self-trust, more courage to trust in others and more combined character and competence to earn others’ trust?

One of the truly inspirational and altruistic individuals this world has known was Mother Teresa who has been quoted as saying:

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

My best to you for now and remember when you intentionally improve the life of others in your professional and personal relationships, you set up the power of reciprocity … what you give out, you get back.

  1. Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria – Driven: How human nature shapes our choices
  2. Martin Seligman – Flourish: A new understanding of happiness and well-being
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