The Art of Belonging

  • Friday 06 Sep 2019
  • by Simon Phin
Simon Phin - The Art of Belonging

The eternal question 'Who am I?' must be weighed against an even deeper question: 'Who are we?' The reality of our lives is that we are writing each other's stories as much as we are writing our own.

Too often we consider ‘what’s in it for me?’, rather than the more important question, ‘what am I contributing to?’.

I’m a keen advocate for understanding data and the methodology in how that data is derived. Increasingly we understand, through the wide research that is before us, that strong communities develop our sense of being and identity as well as building on our emotional security. Meaning, in a simple descriptive, ‘no man is an island’.

I am a keen reader of the work of Hugh Mackay who has remained at the front of social research for well over 50 years. Indeed, we’d be hard-pressed to find a more respected social researcher than Hugh Mackay.

For me, the great revelation, and reassuring evidence is that as 'social creatures' we can only reach our potential when we engage with our communities. In our local neighbourhood, at our places of employment and the teams in which we function and contribute to.

As I’ve ticked over the magic 50yrs mark, I see this more and more in what I do and what I’m looking for from what I do. ‘Are we all in this together, or am I just getting the benefit?’ And it’s an important question we need to ask of ourselves.

If it’s just all about me, it’s hard to share the joy, but if I’m part of a group, a tribe a team then I can see it in the faces of others, their reaction, their sense of satisfaction and fulfilment – that we’re all in this together.

You see, it’s about how we live, how we contribute to the lives of others that have a ripple effect of how we, in turn, lead a life. It’s something we all need to realise, it is inescapable, it’s about ‘we’, not just ‘me’.

So, turn a new page. Look up from the device, talk less & listen more. Our workmates, our neighbours, our loved ones are all yearning for us to be part of their lives. And, if we take up this challenge, the benefits are all ours for the taking. Good luck.


*Hugh Mackay AO  https://www.hughmackay.net.au/

I refer to the work of Hugh Mackay, who has had a 60-year career in social research. In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, Hugh has been elected a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and awarded honorary doctorates by five Australian Universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015.

‘The Art of Belonging’ is available via various online outlets or, better still, your local bookshop.