Belonging rules the world. Most of what happens in life revolves around the bond of belonging.
And, that fiery, passionate place in our hearts where we deal with whether we belong or don’t belong to something/anything is the key to managing multiplicity.
As social animals, belonging runs us. We crave the sense of identity, shelter, commitment and home that makes up belonging, a space where who we are and what we think and believe and know and contribute matters, a space where we will be listened to. Historically, belonging has meant survival, and it still does, even though it doesn’t always look as that’s the case.
We can belong to missions and causes or to people or maybe to both. But, we will seek and seek and seek to belong. It drives us.
A couple of posts ago, I talked about a professor, Dr. James Rosenau, who, among many others in the field of International Relations, predicted the slow demise of the nation-state and the rise of terrorism in the world. One of the foundations of that thinking was the shift of the sense of belonging from nations to smaller interest groups, and that included terror cells.
Think about it: young people around the world looking for a sense of meaning, relevance and mattering, looking for something to hold on to. The fundamental desire is so huge that some of us will allow ourselves to be used as suicide bombers in order to experience feeling part of something. Do you see what I mean? This is fire.
They did not feel that they were seen or could belong to their nominal culture. They couldn’t find a place to flourish.
High school shootings, followed by suicides. Reasons: Depression, separation, marginalization, exclusion, no sense of belonging. People lose arms and legs and lives over this.
So, if you, leaders, can create invitation and a possibility of belonging among great diversity… If lots of people from great levels of difference can feel they belong in a situation or community or an organization, you are managing multiplicity.
This is the big opportunity.
Belonging is fire.