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Succeeding or failing in a group?


Did you fail because you listened too much to others?

The social animal that we are is like that, it needs to create a link with a group, a community in order to receive security, love and even a reason to live. Given our dependence on human groups, it is difficult to say that our decisions are not influenced by the desire to please or meet the requirements of that group.

Groups are strengthened by narrative

If there is one easy way to create a strong bond with a group, it is by defining stories that the group as a whole holds as true. The most obvious examples of this phenomenon are found in religious narratives and dogmas as well as in political or nationalistic narratives.

In order to live and even raise a family in a group one has chosen, one will tend to want to adhere to the group’s doxa and thus avoid being ostracized. Submission to the order of the group is expressed by adherence to its codes, rites and stories, some of which are undoubtedly spurious. In essence, it is not always the veracity of a story that makes it strong, but rather the number of people who believe it, which gives it its power.

Clashes between groups

A group becomes stronger the more it opposes an enemy it has designated. Most human groups find their adhesion because they have created a real or fictitious enemy to which the group opposes itself. Tribalism needs opposition to strengthen itself.

Emancipating oneself from the group

Wanting to emancipate oneself from a group to which one belongs is not easy because one runs the risk of losing the benefits that this group brought to one. Nevertheless, if we decide not to adhere to the narrative anymore and we have the means to leave, then it is possible to do it.

Why leave?

There are several reasons that can explain a desire to leave. The first is that you want to join another group, the other is that you want to acquire more freedom in your choices.

The reasons for a divergence

The desire to please the group to which one belongs or the need to be accountable can weigh on the shoulders of members. Being forced to follow rules to which one does not adhere can also justify the desire to leave.

Another definition of success: leaving to succeed

Because the group imposes its definition of success on us (family, money, etc.), it is sometimes difficult to flourish in it if we do not share the same standards. Very often, succeeding in a group means failing according to other criteria.

Wanting to please instead of succeeding

Because we decide to please the group members at all costs, we limit our possibilities if we have a different definition of success. Since the gaze of others is very important, one will be forced to do things that are not necessarily good in order to achieve a certain level of success (based on other criteria). This explains why it is important to leave your group if you want to be successful at all costs.

Do your own analysis

In order to find out if you have gone down a dead end road, you need to ask yourself some questions. Take a piece of paper and try to answer the following questions in as much detail as possible:

What do you think it means to be happy?

Supplement: You can simply answer in a sentence that states your values such as “happiness is doing what you love” or “it’s when what you think, what you say and what you do are consistent” etc.

What is your definition of success?

Addendum: To help you answer this question, you can imagine a situation in which you would be very happy. How would this happiness materialize? With whom would you be accompanied? What would you do? Where would you live?

What is blocking you today from materializing your success?

Complement: Do you have various blockages, repeating patterns, emotional burdens that hold you back, thoughts that you might call limiting, or relationships that harm you?
Do you sometimes catch yourself wanting to please others and acting in ways that are contrary to what would make you happy?

Complement: Are you ever so uncomfortable that you feel the need to please?

Why do you feel the need to please?

Complement: It is very often because we did not receive a form of unconditional love during our childhood that we tend to want to please others. The precariousness of the love that we had received obliges us unconsciously to redouble our efforts in order to preserve a good that seems fragile to us.

List the groups to which you think you belong (family, country etc.)?

Complement: We belong to dozens of groups without necessarily being aware of it. Some groups play more important roles in our lives while others may conflict with them.

For each of these groups, define how your loyalty to them is expressed.

Supplement: There is an implicit contract that exists in the groups to which you belong. For example, in your family, it may be to do a certain type of work, not use bad words, associate with a certain type of person, etc.

List the things that would happen for each of the groups if you showed a willingness to not follow all the rules?

Extension: What would happen if you seriously broke the group’s rules? Would you be banned? Would you face retaliation?

What do you get out of belonging to each of these groups?

Addendum: List the benefits you receive from membership in this group (security, self-esteem etc.)

What unpleasant rewards do you receive from membership in these groups?

Complement: It can be a form of submission, following rules that you don’t like, etc.

What would you be willing to do to succeed on your terms while jeopardizing your relationship with these groups?

Addendum: If succeeding according to your standards were the most important thing, what actions would you take knowing that they will most likely exclude you from the group?

How will you implement these plans?

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