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The Belly and the Members

I came across this interesting story and thought of sharing it with you. It’s one of  the Aesops fables.

One day the various parts (Aesop says ‘members’) of the human body, including the brain, arms, legs, eyes, feet, hands, lungs, etc., got together to discuss the body’s belly and what they thought about its contribution to the group efforts on behalf of the body.

The body parts were all unhappy and resentful for various reasons, and chose to target their collective anxieties at the belly, in a rather bullying way.

The unhappy body parts decided that the belly was not doing enough towards maintaining the body’s operations, and accused the belly of spending its time lazily consuming food and allowing other members to do all the work.stomach

“We have decided that we will no longer do what we need to do in order to feed you,” they said to the belly, “Because you do nothing to help us, and you are lazy and unproductive.”

No foodAnd they stopped feeding the belly. The belly soon starved. But then so did the body and all of its parts starve too. The unhappy body parts now realized – too late unfortunately to save themselves and the body – that although the belly seemed to be doing nothing, it had in fact been fulfilling a vital function necessary for the well being of the body and all of its parts.

Moral: Often group efforts include certain members whose contributions may seem inconsequential or less valuable than others, and whose behaviors may seem different and less worthy than other louder more obvious contributors, but it is not generally such a simple matter.

Group dynamics are complex, and it is easy to misinterpret and undervalue other members efforts when we do not understand the entire situation, and particularly when we do not understand how individual members might be crucial to overall teamwork and results. singers clipartWhen we target and victimize group members we weaken the group, and all of its members.

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