As a human being, you are part of individual tribes. Some of the tribes are very small, like your immediate family or your high school graduating class. Other tribes are quite large, like your state or country, your political affiliation, or your religion. The place where you work is a sort of tribe that might be large or small, or it might also be a collection of small tribes.
Each of your tribes contributes something to your beliefs, how you view the world, and ultimately, what you believe to be good, and right, and true. These tribes can help propel you forward, or they can prevent you from being more, doing more, having more, and contributing more.
There are some tribes you should leave, and others you should join. You should leave any tribe that prevents you from growing and join tribes that have something to valuable to offer.
Some Tribes You Might Change
There is a large tribe made up of people who don’t read books (or listen to them on audio). This tribe isn’t intellectually curious and doesn’t spend much time exploring new ideas or working to understand better the world they occupy. This is a tribe worth leaving to find membership in the tribe of people who read books and who spend time thinking about and discussing significant and meaningful ideas.
The tribe that reads books is a tribe worth joining. Reading provides them with a more vibrant, fuller life. The tribe members have a greater understanding of how things work and how to better live their one life, the single theme of all literature when boiled down to its core. The price to join this tribe is about $20 and 6 hours, but the price seems to increase the longer you are a member.
Another huge tribe includes people who share the belief that there is nothing they can do to improve themselves or their lot in life. You can identify this tribe by their firmly held belief that they have no agency, no volition, no ability to act on their behalf and change their future. The tribe members here aren’t quick to let you leave the tribe, and they will accuse you of believing you are “too good” for them when you leave, but leave you must.
The tribe of people who believe their life is their own is a most welcoming tribe, where you will find more like you. The price for joining this tribe is accepting responsibility for your life, and sometimes it means spending less time with people who drift through life. However, joining this tribe doesn’t have to be a judgment of those with a different belief. Instead, it’s a judgment about whom you will become.
Trading Unhealthy Tribes for Healthier Ones
One vast tribe is made up of people who are negative, cynical, and pessimistic. You find the tribe members spread out across many other tribes, including your family, and especially your co-workers. The primary attribute defining this tribe is their ability to believe nothing is good, nothing is right, no one is worth believing, and things are getting worse—and can only get worse. The members are perpetually unhappy.
There is another tribe comprised of people who are positive and optimistic. They believe that even when things go wrong, they will turn out to be okay in the end. While the negative tribe sees things are wrong or broken, the positive tribe sees how things can be improved. The first group does nothing to make things better, and this tribe, because it is positive, does what is necessary to improve things.
A tribe worth leaving is the tribe of the ultra-political. The ultra-political tribe members share the ugly characteristic of believing anyone with a different set of beliefs is their enemy. They are wholly incapable of seeing another person’s perspective and seek only ideas that confirm their beliefs. You find this tribe everywhere, but they tend to be most active on social media, where the different members argue and insult each other, believing it to be their duty and responsibility.
If you should leave the ultra-political tribe, you might consider joining the tribe of people who believe that they can have friends of all political persuasions, and who are more interested in understanding their perspective than trying to argue or insult them out of it. This tribe is small, and it is tiny during election cycles, and the price of entry is very high, requiring you to respect other people’s opinions even when they conflict with yours.
A Tribe Called Success
Of all the tribes you might join, the tribe of people who share the common characteristic of chasing something called “success,” a word with more definitions than can easily be contained in a post like this or a dozen books, is a tribe worth joining. This tribe truly believes they should be more, do more, have more, and contribute more in the course of their life.
You can identify people in this tribe by their continued effort to grow and improve themselves. They are also very active, and wherever you find them, they are always involved in projects and initiatives that improve things. Because these two things are true, they tend to create abundance, and they find ways to share with others.
The price of joining this tribe is rather high. It requires time and effort in improving yourself. You also have to continue even when you fail and ask for the help of others when you need it (and the tribe called success will help, although they are likely to extract a promise that you pay forward that help when you are able).
Jim Rohn once said you become the composite of the five people you spend the most time with. The influence of your tribes is too important to leave to chance. You are better off choosing the tribes where membership improves your life—and leaving those that no longer serve you. You have to give up who you are to be whom you are becoming.
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