It’s true that there is strength in numbers. Together we get to share in the collective wisdom of the group. But this also comes with the danger of groupthink and the loss of our individual creative potential.
We are social beings to our core and we discover who we are in relationship with others. At the same time, our group membership is a mixed bag of benefits and risks.
Groups give us an identity and story. They tell us who we are, and how to make sense of the world around us. They provide an interpretation for life.
The group also protects us. At every turn, someone has our back. This gives us peace and security. We don’t have to stay at constant high alert and can simply enjoy more of daily living.
And in a world filled with the winds of change, it’s nice to know we have somewhere to belong. The group gives us a sense of place.
While the group has many benefits, there are also risks in its shadow side, namely the risk of groupthink.
When we over identify with the group we loose our individual distinctiveness and merely conform to group expectations without question.
This robs us of our individuality and creative potential.
No longer do we combine our unique perspectives to solve the issues of life together.
The group has spoken and any new original thought is irrelevant – or more likely, it’s too threatening to the group identity to even consider. All that matters is what the group has already decided.
Stuck in a herd mentality, the group becomes a blind guide leading us all into the ditch.
We need the group. Both our survival and vitality depends on it.
But we must also avoid the dangers of groupthink.
Enjoy the many benefits of group membership without neglecting the distinct contribution God has called you to.
Photo by Rohan Reddy on Unsplash