• Curt Mercadante

Free Agency vs. Tribalism

In professional sports, free agents reign.

Top-performing free agents are feted and fawned over by teams who need them, offering top dollar to lure the top players to their team.

The free agents have the freedom to choose the team they like best, and often cash in big on their choices.

There's no reason you can't be a free agent.

I'm not talking about sports.

Last year, the great Randy Gage and I discussed the scourge of tribalism in our society (watch here and blog post continued following the video):

At it's heart, tribalism is about committing yourself to a team. And quite often, you don't commit to a team based on your reasoned choice. You do so out of guilt; fear of missing out; or desperately latching on to something that will fill the gap in your life resulting of a lack of meaning.

Your tribe might be a political party; it might be Team Vaccinated/Team Unvaccinated; Team Mask/Team No Mask; a certain cable TV channel; a cult; or, something else.

In professional sports, when a player commits to a team, he or she is now COMMITTED.

That player has to be loyal; has to wear the uniform; has to comport him or herself in alignment with the team's rules and values, and on and on and on.

There's nothing inherently wrong with that, though sometimes "free agents" find themselves on losing teams, teams with a poor culture, teams with crappy ownership, etc.

But they're committed: Locked up for a set period of time via contract.

Quite often, they don't have the same freedom after signing the contract that they had just before signing the contract.

How about you?

Are you giving up your freedom by signing with a tribe?

Do you have to check what your tribe's chosen leader or chosen media figure says on an issue before you can formulate an opinion in your head?

Do you reflexively go to battle over any decision your team leader makes, even if, in your heart, you know it's the wrong decision?

You see, there's power in being a FREE AGENT.

A free agent doesn't feel the need to identify with any given tribe.

A free agent uses the power of critical and creative thinking to formulate ideas.

A free agent doesn't have knee-jerk, violent responses to anything that insults the tribe.

A free agent is FREE.

A free agent is also a threat.

This is because a free agent can't be neatly categorized by those who want to sell you products or buy your votes.

When someone can be neatly categorized, it's easier to find them with an algorithm or target them with product/political advertisements and mail.

A free agent isn't reliant on politicians to live their lives, and so the politicians don't hold as much power to sway or instill fear in the free agent.

A free agent doesn't feel like a prisoner of a toxic work culture, and will not hesitate to find a culture that fits him or her better.

A free agent knows that as soon as they sign on the dotted line of their tribe, they're locked in to and with that tribe.

And that free agent knows that his or her freedom is more right before he or she signs with the tribe than it is right after.

A free agent has power.

And a free agent is a threat.

Are you a free agent?

If not, what's keeping you from becoming one?

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