Where Do I Belong? (Tips to find out)

You might be wondering about this question since you feel a lack of belongingness in your present surroundings right now. Some fresh advice on identifying and searching for your own community from business innovator Nilofer Merchant to guide you to the path of finding where you belong.

In 1990, when students at the University of Pennsylvania were asked if they would consider a career in Philadelphia where the school is located only 35 per cent of them said yes in this kind of study. By 2010, that number was 60 per cent in this kind of study.

Some of that increase might be due to Alex Hillman in a new study. Alex’s search for his own people began because he was lonely at the time.

Alex was thinking of moving to the West Coast where other creative tech types seemed to be heading and he had a connection there to a tech company for a full-time job at that time. But when that job fell through in January 2006, he decided to give Philadelphia another try and permitted himself six months to meet as many like-minded people in Philadelphia as he could at that time.

Perhaps the first step to finding people like yourself is to show up as yourself to find the place where you want to belong. Alex went to gatherings of professional groups, small conferences, tech-based events and meetups to find other geeks like him at that time. 

He stopped wearing suits and showed more of himself, suggesting that perhaps the first step to finding people like yourself is to show up as yourself at a spare time. Soon, he found a few who had a similar outward profile such as tattoos, ironic T-shirts, and checkered shirts at this time. 

And he discovered he had a lot in common with some of them at that time. In September 2006, this crew of coders, writers, makers and designers began meeting every Friday to work on their individual projects in each other’s company at that time. 

They soon discovered they were more productive as a group at that time. The more time they spent together, the more they learned from one another, were inspired by one another, and pushed one another at that time.

At an event run by a local recruiter, Alex pitched the idea about a clubhouse for the group. The group embraced his idea of a co-working space with this kind of idea. 

While Alex was the catalyst for the first city’s coworking space, it was ultimately the community that created Indy Hall which just celebrated its 11th anniversary and has 300 members at that time. Even before they occupied a physical space together, they co-owned the idea at that time. 

They all occupied a certain geekiness, they occupied a particular creativeness, and in their shared “-nesses”, they coalesced as a community united by a common purpose with this kind of idea. A philosopher said that with the indication of being in unity with others can we find out purpose.

The word individual has an inherent duality which is it means the smallest member of a group as reported. An individual is therefore never isolated but he or she is always connected to a certain group. 

Every one of the 7.5 billion humans on the earth has value to provide, especially now in a distributed world where you can get things done through networks of people. This is the power of what we call onlyness where you’re standing in a spot that only you stand in which is a function of your history, experiences, visions and hopes, and it’s from here you provide a distinct point of view, insights and ideas from the world. 

When you can grow and realize those ideas through your networks and through connectedness, you have a new lever to move the world in your own speed. Onlyness is like an individual, then, in that it is born of you and also that it unites you meaningfully with others and it is the connected aspect of you.

To find your people, you have to know how to signal your passions and interests and seek out theirs in this light. But you can also search Google or scan LinkedIn profiles and send Connect with Me notices for this kind of purpose. 

You can tweet links about what you’re interested in or leave comments on an Instagram feed on what you need to find. The following is a brief taxonomy that identifies five different types of communities you can tap in your own time:

  • Community type #1 as a type: practice. This type of group is united by a common activity as needed it to be. For instance, Alex’s colleagues were all creative types who were interested in various aspects of web development. Practice, however, is not limited to professional activities and it also applies to hobbies and interests such as French speakers or marathon runners. One good method to find others with mutual interests is through an online search at this time.
  • Community type #2 as a type: proximity. This is a kind of group regarding being of or in a certain place. Members paid a subscription fee to find others in the city and get access to such information as how to choose a school or deal with foreign taxes at their times. Another website called Mes Bonnes Copines or my good girlfriends connects people to one another to provide helpful services such as swapping babysitting at the time. The Internet is a great place to start looking for your community but it’s simply one method to find your people in your life.
  • Community type #3 as a type: passion. A community of passion is driven by a shared interest in a particular subject and it varies slightly from one based on practice in this case. Digital tools can help you get linked with others who have the same passion as you such as writing or artworks.
  • Community type #4 as a type: providence. Provident communities are the product of seemingly random connections such as meeting friends in high school who introduce you to your future funders on Kickstarter at the time. However, this kind of process is not as random as it appears to be. For instance, entrepreneur advocate Tereza Nemessanyi was not a known expert when she first dove into that world at the time. She started by reading blogs written by venture capitalists before her own passion ignited. She began leaving comments which led others to discover and engage with her at the time. Then she created her own blog, tweeting to support it, and that led her to build a company at the time. While promoting her business, she found many people who knew of her from her earlier blog comments when she was in that career state. Now she works at Microsoft, helping build relationships with startups and entrepreneurs in the present time. The key lies in figuring out where and how you can create opportunities for serendipity in your life.
  • Community type #5 as a type: purpose. Purposeful communities are those that share a vision of the world as seen by communities in this kind. They don’t always have user groups and are typically not geography dependent in their spare time. Finding people with a common purpose means finding those who share a concrete commitment to a specific cause and this involves a more sophisticated method of signaling and seeking at the time. For instance, Rachel Sklar and Glynnis MacNicol built a tribe of 500 women in tech which coalesced into an organization called TheLi.st with whom they share their deepest purpose which is to change the ratio of women on conference stages, in investments and as CEOs in their community.

As mentioned before, Alex did much of his looking with actual legwork, using online networks to supplement it. Philadelphia’s new community which had always been there yet was invisible was made into reality by him locating people who cared about the same things as him at this time. 

To do this, he claimed his history and experience, visions and hopes where in other words, his onlyness at the time. And as Alex served his job and community needs, he created a hub for other geeky creative types and doing so helped his city become more vibrant in serving the needs of similar entrepreneurs at that time. 

This is onlyness or belongingness in action which is a way to form meaningful connections and make new things occur in the world.

Where Do I Belong Test

This test will indicate where you truly belong. You might be wondering where you belong when you have realized that you don’t belong in some place in your life.

Instructions: The following questions will indicate where you truly belong. Please read the questions carefully and answer the choice that applies to you. Please answer the questions honestly to get an accurate result.

Where are you most likely to be found in your leisure time?

  • At a party hosted by a stranger – 4
  • With my friends – 2
  • In my room – 1
  • At the mall – 3

Which of the following traits speak to you the most?

  • Cozy – 1
  • Elegant – 2
  • Thrifty – 4
  • Extroverted – 3

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you be?

  • United Kingdom – 2
  • USA – 3
  • Japan – 4
  • Greece – 1

Do you think you are on the good side or the bad side?

  • Good side – 3
  • Bad side – 4
  • I’m a little bit of both – 2
  • I’m neutral to this – 1

Where in the following places would you spend your time?

  • Mountain – 4
  • Castle – 2
  • Forest – 1
  • Beach – 3

What do you normally think of animals?

  • They are great people than natural people – 1
  • Great company like other people – 3
  • Food – 4
  • A bit of a nuisance – 2

Which of the following is the most important to you?

  •   Comfort – 1
  • Family – 4
  • Adventure – 3
  • Safety – 2

Which of the following elements do you relate to?

  • Air – 1
  • Earth – 3
  • Water – 4
  • Fire – 2

Which of the following do you hate the most?

  • Stress – 1
  • Violence – 2
  • Boredom – 3
  • Crowds – 4

Which of the following are you most afraid of?

  • Being alone – 3
  • The dark – 4
  • Heights – 1
  • Spiders – 2

Total scoring criteria:

31 – 40 – somewhere you are with your family 

21 – 30 – a place where there are always crowds and new people to meet

11 – 20 – somewhere you feel sophisticated and rich

5 – 10 – somewhere you can find peace and comfort


Ideas.TED.com. Feel like you don’t fit in? Here’s how to find where you truly belong.

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