3 Reasons To Break Away From The Tribe Instead Of Following


Bloggers like to have followers. One trend among bloggers is to call their followers their tribe. But what if becoming part of a “tribe” is exactly what keeps holding you back from doing what you want to do? I’ve got news for you…

Just like the American Dream, the tribal philosophy is actually holding you back. When you follow a group mentality, you will always get a group result. Sometimes, groups can be effective. But when we want to truly accomplish big things, groups are more likely to hold us back.

The Key To Success Is To Break Away From The Tribe

Last summer, I had some downtime while visiting another town. So I found a bookstore and picked up the book, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield.

The entire first section to the book is dedicated to this thing called resistance. You know what it is. It’s that thing that keeps you from doing the things you really want to do. Pressfield shows us many forms of resistance: unhappiness, procrastination, self-doubt, etc. But the chapter that really caught my attention was called, Resistance and Fundamentalism. 

Our psyches are programmed by millions of years of hunter-gatherer evolution. We know what the clan is; We know how to fit into the band and the tribe. What we don’t know is how to be alone. We don’t know how to be free individuals.

Pressfield goes on to explain that this tribal mentality is actually what keeps us from being all we can be. The true writer, artist, or minimalist doesn’t follow the crowd, they break away from the tribe. 

What You Gain From Leaving The Tribe

  1. Freedom to be you: Stop “following” my ideas. One reason I find it difficult to call myself a minimalist is that it’s a tribal mentality. If I’m part of the tribe, I’m a follower. That leaves little room to be myself; to generate my own unique ideas. You won’t write a masterpiece or change the world by following the masses. 
  2. Less outside influence: I write music. I can listen to pop music all day long and then try to write something with commercial appeal. Guess what? That’s a tribal mentality. All I’m doing is wasting my time trying to repeat what’s already been done. If I want to create a unique sound, I’d actually be better off to tune out all music for a year and solely write original works.
  3. A new feeling of hope: The tribe locks us into one mindset. Often the mindset is negative, or one that lacks true inspiration. Take minimalism, for instance. The movement lacks creativity. We’re told we have to follow certain rules in order to succeed. What if we just lived simply in our own fashion. We’d likely feel much more hope. We’d be happy with the end results because our own motivation would be the guiding force. 

Read My Work, But Don’t Follow Me

It’s okay to read others’ work; to get ideas and learn from a variety of sources. But be careful not to become so caught up with any one person or movement that you get stuck in the tribal mentality. 

As someone who was the child victim of a cult, I know this all too well. I watched my parents and dozens of other adults and children become such dedicated followers of one person that they would do anything to remain part of the tribe.

In fact, they were so dedicated that they lost their own individuality. They had no chance of doing anything creative or unique because they were slaves to a system. It’s a little like the American Dream. Any system that becomes tribal in nature will hold you back.

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James Ewen
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