Contribute More to a Community – 50 for 50 Idea # 40

posted on: December 7, 2018
author: Brian Lomax

CommunityOne of the most well known theories on motivation in psychology is Self Determination Theory. Developed by Ed Deci and Richard Ryan, this theory states that how we experience the concepts of autonomy, competence, and relatedness shape our motivation and can drive performance. Of these three concepts, let’s focus on relatedness, and more specifically community.

Relatedness is an important need that all human beings have on their path to self-actualization. We are social creatures. We need other people. And regardless of what some people like to think, no one has achieved success without the help of others. When I hear people say something to that effect, it makes me think of the poem No Man is an Island by John Donne.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

-John Donne

Community is the manifestation of our need for relatedness. We are all a part of some community whether it be the locale in which we live, a professional association, based on the sport that we play, or some other group.  Communities benefit us and they are a part of our success story.

Idea # 40 – Contribute more to some community

Contributing more to some community that you belong to is a great way to improve your own performance and happiness. The more you put into a community, the more it will put into you. You’ll likely develop some great relationships which will enhance your motivation in a powerful way.  That brings us full-circle, and back to Self Determination Theory.  Striving to develop great relationships in your chosen community will help you on your journey of self-actualization.  Don’t just be part of a community; be a contributing member to it.

To be clear, I’m writing this post mostly for myself as I am not so good at this notion of community. Have you ever seen the movie or read the book About a Boy? Hugh Grant’s character in the movie states at the beginning of the film that he disagrees with John Donne’s assertion that no man is an island, and that he engages in what he likes to call “island living.” At times, I’m guilty of island living, and that’s not good. So I’m going to leave the island more often in the coming year and contribute more to the tennis community in New England. How about you? What community can you contribute more to in the near future?

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About the Author

Brian Lomax founded PerformanceXtra™ in 2009 with a mission of helping athletes achieve their goals and their top performances more consistently through a progression of mental skills that enables them to focus on what is truly important.

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