I find life funny — many of us have very similar goals to one another, but the world is a finite place. There’s only so much time, so much money — in short, there’s not enough resources out there for everyone to have as much a they’d like. The way we’re going now, some people will come out empty-handed!
So why aren’t we pooling our resources and working toward collective goals?
Lesson 1: The Needs of the Many
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
–Captain Spock, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982
One of the huge flaws with our current society is its strong focus on the individual. We’re told when we’re young that we can be the best. We can be on top. We can be better, faster and stronger than anyone else around us. And while I’m sure we can, the better question is whether we need to be the best, or can we be just as amazing as a handful of people who we work with?
Lesson 2: “Help” is Not a Taboo Word
Somehow, many of us have convinced ourselves that asking for help is somehow a sign of weakness.
Which is probably one of the most ignorant things I’ve ever heard.
No one person can possibly be the best at everything. My ability to run fast makes me well-suited for sports like dodgeball and ultimate frisbee, but utterly hopeless at volleyball. I can figure out the most fiendishly complex puzzle games you offer me, but will be the first person to be picked off in a first-person shooter. We are all good at different things.
So — why the heck wouldn’t we ask people for help in areas where we know we’re not that good? Much like I alluded to in my last post, there’s definitely a fear element involved that both holds us back from asking for help and makes us reticent to provide it. And because of this, we all wind up clinging to isolated paths where the odds are against us and we can only succeed so much.
If you don’t believe me, it’s purely logical at the basic level — 2 people can do in 12 hour what 1 can do in a day. 4 in 6 what 2 can in 12 and so on. By pooling like resources, not only do we improve our chances of reaching our goals, but we also afford ourselves a quicker turnaround if/when we fail, since it won’t take as long to carry out the changes necessary to make something successful.
If you have a group of people genuinely dedicated to helping each other, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved!
Lesson 3: Good Help is SO Hard to Find
And therein the problem lies. Theoretically, this is all good and fine, but finding people who commonly believe in the same goal and are willing to put time aside to work at achieving it is not easy. Everyone has different priorities. Everyone has different levels of effort that they can contribute. Finding the right people to align yourself with isn’t easy but here’re some places to start your hunt:
- Twitter: People are constantly talking about their passions on Twitter! Find out how to do an advanced Twitter search and look up keywords that’re specific to your field. Chances are that you’ll find people in your neck of the woods trying to do some of the same things that you are!
- Networking Events: Even when they’re focused around certain areas of interest, it’s rare for people to have one interest alone. Find a solid networking event and discuss your ideas until you’re blue in the face. But remember — I said discuss; a discussion requires active contribution and listening in order to work. If you’re nothing more than a loudspeaker, people will eventually tune you out.
- Facebook Pages and Other Forums: Finally, there are Facebook Pages and Internet forums on pretty much any topic inconceivable. Find some that align to what you want to do and make some connections!
The world’s a very big place, but we’re a very big population with some very big ideas. There’s room enough for all of us, but only if we choose to work together and stop trying to carve out small pieces for each and every one of us. It isn’t sustainable. If isn’t smart. It doesn’t even align with our best interests as a society!
The power of “we” will always be greater than the Power of “Me”. We need to spend less time being ourselves for the sake of ourselves and more to keep our communities strong. No one is an island — so why do we try so hard to convince ourselves otherwise?
[This post was written as part of Blog Action Day 2012, focused on the topic of "The Power of We"]