How do you fit in and where? | Optimal Distinctiveness

Hey there!

Has it ever happened to you that when an audience gives a standing ovation, you have an urge to stand as well?

Did you ever feel you were a part of a group but felt dissatisfied by the company you keep?

When you truly do something you love which is unique and have no one to witness it, is it hard to continue doing stuff?

Well, this post talks about Optimal Distinctiveness which I came across in Adam Grant’s Give and Take.

In the book, Adam talks about this theory developed by a psychologist Marilynn Brewer.

We really like to fit into communities.

We strive to feel connected, belonged, included and affiliated with a community.

But, we also want to stand out!

We want to be unique from the crowd, we search for individuality.

These are two opposites, and yet we crave them.

And many times, these motives conflict in our lives.

The stronger we tend to affiliate ourselves with a group or a community, we tend to lose out on our sense of uniqueness.

The more we work to distinguish ourselves, we distance ourselves and run a high risk of losing our sense of inclusion in our communities.

And this is balanced out by optimal distinctiveness in the way we socialise.

We feel at our best (most of us at least) when both our sense of belonging and our sense of uniqueness can exist at the same time.

I find myself in my best form at two places/communities that provide me with a sense of inclusion and yet give me a chance to be individualistic.

I volunteer at Make A Difference, an NGO where I fit in with a community of people who try to bring change for the better and work for a common cause which in itself is unique!

In this case, the community in itself helps in me being uniqueness.

I love to write, and am a part of communities of bloggers! And each blogger has a defined uniqueness.

This community encourages me to be unique within it as well.

This can be flipped to make things easier for us and use this to our advantage as well.


  1. If you’re looking for a community you wish to be a part of, you can try fitting into the culture as the similarity will allow others to accept you as their own. You can then work and make an amalgam of your uniqueness to that of the community and contribute in your own ways.
  2. If you are looking to build one by yourself, all you have to do is ensure you are able to provide a sense of belongingness to the people around you and still promote their unique abilities in the community.

With that,
More Power to you!


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Cover Picture: Photo by Saksham Gangwar on Unsplash

One thought on “How do you fit in and where? | Optimal Distinctiveness

  1. Well said and presented. Reality V’s. Feelings transparently expressed.. Keep up the fantastic work going…


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