Working well with others. That’s what they tell you in the early days of your development. Or maybe they say, “play well with others.” Same deal. I remember hearing that mantra in every childhood situation. Like most things on repeat, you tend to become deaf to it.
They say it because it’s true. The pages of my own history are filled with stories of me failing to work well with others. Those stories never ended well. So like any person with a mind toward improvement, I’ve taken steps. Didn’t say all the steps. Some steps.
It’s great when you click with another person in any of life’s venues. I’m not Dr. Phil, so I won’t go into romantic relationships; I’ll cast a narrow net and just talk about work relationships here.
Could be you have a project to do. We’re talking any work-related endeavor. Building a house. Fixing a car. Creating a killer presentation. Doesn’t matter.
Time for a full-on mea culpa. There was a point in my days when I decided enough was enough: no more collaboration. I picked the most solitary thing I could think of—writing. Of course, the decision was a little more complicated than that, but not much. I just wanted to run away from the herd, strike out into an untrammeled field, set myself down, set myself to working. I won’t lie. It’s nice out there on your own, at least for awhile. Eventually though, you get to the point where you need somebody else’s expertise. I suppose there were some settlers back in the day who threw everything they had into a cart and put a stake in the ground, built everything they would ever have with their own two mitts and that was that.
Suppose there was. But I’m no pioneer. And my farming skills are subpar at best.
I’ll leave that metaphor behind.
I need people to read my stuff, people’s opinions, people to help me do design, others to correct my wrongs, etc. and on and on. We all need those people. I think there’s a part in every person’s brain that tells them they are a self-contained entity, but it doesn’t work that way. Other people are the greatest resource in the world, and like any resource, they need to be respected, worked with, not used. Whatever achievement you’re going for, a slap on the back from somebody else when it’s done is better than slapping yourself. I’ve tested this empirically. You have to be flexible if you’re alone—it’s more painful than anything. You get the point.
I don’t like getting sentimental, but accomplishment is not a zero-sum game. There’s not a finite amount of pleasure to be had in getting something done. Often, it’s the reverse. Two people doing something doubles the satisfaction. Yeah, I know I could make a dirty joke here, but that would be too obvious. The die is cast, the gauntlet has been thrown down, I’m running out of sayings, and my argument has been made.
See you after.