Some people find being a loner is the easiest option. There is no risk of being vulnerable, disappointed or let down by other people if we keep to ourselves. And mixing with others does provide some stress. We worry what other people think about us, want to do well, hope to be popular and successful. Also other people expect to be considered when we make our decisions or some people turn out to be not what we had hoped them to be. But, in the long run we, as human beings are meant to co-exist to some extent. We need each other to survive.
Group activities feature frequently throughout life. They may start in school, either on the playing field in sports or in the classroom with different projects that we have to accomplish together. Many companies expect their staff to work in teams. Call centres where everyone may be assigned teams in a bid to motivate them or project situations where people bring different skills to the group and are expected to interact and work together.
As a child experiencing the humiliation and embarrassment of being the last person to be picked for a team, or enduring the shame of being the person who dropped the ball at a crucial time in a match can stay with us throughout our lives. Giving the wrong answer in front of everyone in class or making a mess of a presentation can fill us with a sense of dread that stays with us for years.
Making a serious commitment to ourselves and doing work to improve our confidence can help us heal those old memories and stand us in good stead for the future.
Group activities teach us a lot:
- Team spirit is important. Forming a bond that connects everyone on a team can be an important lesson in loyalty and commitment. Learning to work together, to compromise, negotiate, to have the humility to put our ego to one side, see the bigger picture and encourage someone who is better than us in a particular skill are all important skills for life.
- Being able to lose with a good grace is invaluable. Someone has to lose in any competition. It is a fact of life. Being able to respect that everyone did their best, tried their hardest to win and then lost to someone better is important to be able to accept. Being able to lose with dignity and congratulate the winner is a sign of graciousness and demonstrates appreciation of other people’s talents.
- Respecting others is a major part of any group activities. Different people will have different sets of skills and different levels of ability. Some people may be less able in certain areas. Respect for them and what they can contribute is important. And when they feel respected often their confidence improves, they relax and feel better able to contribute more.
- Motivation is a vital component of group activities. Often people are motivated at different times. Some people may be down whilst others are feeling more upbeat. Being able to utilise the different levels of motivation enables everyone to attain to their best levels throughout the group activities.
- Co-ordination of group activities needs to be managed. Often one person will be given the role of team leader. That person will organise timetables, diaries, any training requirements there may be. They will be responsible for identifying key skills, planning and assigning roles to the people in the group. Appreciating the need for structure and management is an important part of group activities.
Group activities teach us a lot about ourselves and about others. We learn to work together, compromise at times, appreciate that others have skills we do not have and value the fact that everyone has a valuable role to play.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist