The 3 Basic formulas of Tribe

Today when we here the word ‘tribe’ it often stirs up images of barbarians. Wild marauding bands of savages from a by-gone era of our ancestors. 


However in this article the term ‘Tribe’ can refer to any group that has a shared goal or interest. A tribe can be any of the following;

  • A football team 
  • A family
  • A group of friends
  • A distinct group or culture
  • Hobbyist or interest groups

You can enter into an elevator with a bunch of strangers. The lift breaks down and all of a sudden everyone shares the exact same goal of having to escape the lift. Quite suddenly they are all part of the same tribe.  

So now we have discussed what a Tribe is lets look at what the 3 formulas are; 


Every group has different objectives. Ritual serves to further those objectives. Lets say you meet up with your friends once every 2 weeks to watch the footy game and drink some beers. The objective is to keep the bonds of friendship strong as well as have some fun watching the game. The tribe consists of you and your friends. The regular meetings keep the bonds of your tribe strong. Friends catching up and bonding over sharing something in common. Everybody remains in each others lives. Without the fortnightly meet up the bonds of the group will begin to fade over time.

Pro tip for men: Women talk, men do. As a man if you want to tighten your relationship with your father or your mates then have something to do together. It could be a project, talking/watching sports, a shared interest or hobby.


This is the process of adding new members to your tribe. If you have a family then making babies will add new members. For a football team, bringing in or reaching out to footy players to come to practice is strengthening the overall group and the objectives its seeking. 

A group that dwindles in new blood will die. Procreation is how the tribe survives across time as the torch is passed on to the next line of fresh members. There is a definite balance of quantity vs quality. New members must met the standards of the group and share it’s objectives. If too many new members are brought into the fold without being indoctrinated (for lack of a better word) then 2 things will happen. Either the group will become something different entirely or the group will split into different fractions and thus become separate tribes. 


This doesn’t necessarily mean protecting everyone you know from violent apocalyptic cannibals (although it could be!). Survival of the tribe is making sure that the guys who come to footy training keep attending over time. If members start to fall by the way side then it can detract the power and momentum of the group. A family will look out for it’s members to make sure they don’t make stupid decisions or help each other out through hard times.  

For your tribe of footy watching beer drinkers, survival of the group is making sure everyone is free over certain dates and can make it to the drinks night. If someone continues to miss out on the ritual, the group becomes weaker. 

Lets also look at the values of any given group

When any group of people come together for a shared aim, a set of moralities and rules will appear. The simplest way of depicting this is imagining a rowing team. 

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If one person is not rowing then they are jeopardizing the overall progress of that group. The guy will face some level of ostracism depending on how badly he impedes his team. If his behavior gets worse and he starts to row in the opposite direction then he will soon find himself in overboard. All groups have a set of rules to help the progress of the group. If the behaviors that are harmful to the group are tolerated then soon the behaviors will corrupt the overall progress and this team will fall apart.

Interesting saying: There are 2 types of people in life, there are rowers and then there are passengers.

This article was inspired by ‘Master Chim’. Check out his work out at if you wish to find out more. 

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