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The groups where we belong

Nate Hagens shared this piece of advice as he concluded the interview with Happen Films.

That is how we have evolved - Small groups of people with intense bonds collaborating through challenges. Make sure that you find a fellowship in your community of people that you ethically and philisophically share a future vision with and go through life with them experiencing the ups and downs of this adventure. Individuals in small groups will change the future, thats the only thing that ever has.

I had watched this talk around a month back, but these words have stayed with me since. Maybe because its easier for me to put myself in this situation and then experience the world around me? I dont know. As I re-read this passage again and again, i find that there are words or worlds here that, a lot of times, we might take for granted. And just thinking about it might offer us an opportunity to reflect back and understand the value of these words in our own context.

This journey, as we reflect back, can be a bit adventurous and challenging at the same time. Sometimes, our past can offer us a certain detour which we’re not comfortable taking, but at the same time it can lead us to beautiful places which were just unknown to us.

In the passage, Nate speaks about groups. We usually associate ourselves with a lot of groups such as our family, friends, the groups we voluteer with, professional groups, the list can be a long one, but do we really feel a part of all of them ? Did we consciously chose all of them, what were the differences between the groups that we chose to be a part of versus groups that we had to be a part of ? Was being part of a group just a formality or there are certain groups that we really connect with? Do we have a choice anways to pick our groups, or is this choice available only for a privileged few ?

Can we pick out some of these qualities and create something like a custom group association calculator, so before we think of joining a new group, if that is in our control, then making the decision is a bit easier ? Or should we just not think about any of this and let life take its course ?

These questions may offer some food for thought, or may distract you more. Personally, its easy for me to dedicate a major chunk of whatever I’ve learned in life to a small number of groups, really few. Some of them as small as me and another friend. Some of them which I was natuarally a part of like the group with my parents and some of them which i intentionally wanted to be a part of because of our mutual interests, our values, and other things that a lot of times we fail to articulate, but they gives us enough confidence to associate ourselves with someone. So the answer is really not easy and straight forward, but did we expected it to be ?

Another phrase, Nate speaks about is smaller groups. But why small ? Maybe because its just less formal, we get more time to listen, its easier to delve into spaces that our difficult for us to traverse alone, but its easier as a group and we dont have to select such spaces as we have a lot of time in our hands and we’re not answerable to a lot of people. Maybe, it’s just easier to be ourselves. Maybe at times, we’re really there for one another, not just for the sake of it. Maybe there are other qualities that I have personally not experienced, but I’ve mostly been inclined towards smaller groups, and it just might take more time to understand this association properly.

Sometimes, or a lot of times, such groups already exist, and the group might be over and above your size threshold. You’re just not confident of being a part but you really associate yourself with their objectives and how they work and some other unsaid qualities. In such situations, we just hope that we’re not distracted with these external features of a group, and may the group treats us in the same way as any other member. We’re relaxed a bit when we find that the group has a few processes in place that allows itself to remain closer to what it was when it was formed and when it was small. And it further adds to our relaxation when we observe the group sharing this responsibility of making us a part of it.

We might not get all these answers on day one, and we should we even expect that ? We should also try and answer - What efforts are we putting to associate ourselves to this group, is someone’s life getting a bit easier because of our association, or are we just adding to the worries ?

As I try and articulate this thought, I’m still thinking that maybe such choices are part of the privilige ? Are we always free to take such decisions, or we’re bound to be a part of groups for other reasons that are not in our hands ? Maybe answering the Why can help ? If we really associate with the Why, it just gives us the confidence and energies required to search, find, join and sometimes create our groups which might help us sail through this really short life, whereever we are, whatever we do and however we live. And the reality is that we will never know all the answers, but the level of trust in a community can help us a lot as we continue searching.

Nate concludes the passage by saying,

Individuals in small groups will change the future, thats the only thing that ever has.

Well, there are agreements and disagreements here. I’m usually skeptical wherever we try and atrribute a change to something which we can make a sense of, or its just easy for us to understand. In doing that, we might make a lot of assumptions and maybe we’re not even sure of everything that happened in the universe to support the change ? Or maybe it’s not even a change and we’re juts clouded by our short term visions, and in reality nothing ever changed. But instead of trying to understand everything myseld and taking a stand with just a few clouded thoughts, i prefer to share and discuss this with the groups that i’m really grateful to be a part of. They might lead me somewhere else, but I wont be alone….