No “I” in T-E-A-M

In a previous article, just a few days ago I wrote, “It’s so important that we all team up and work together to get the message across. Of course, for that, we have to all agree on what that message is, and there is NO room in this article to open that can of worms, so that’ll have to be another day.”

Well, welcome to “another day”! For starters, that article was in reference to communicating information to others, either by: writing, speaking or display. (If you’d like more information about that, head over there now.) What I meant was that since it’s nearly impossible for an individual to fully communicate a single message to all people (in all the different ways that people are wired) it’s absolutely imperative that we are willing to team-up with like-minded people when attempting to get a message out.

Sounds simple enough, right? Come on, we all know it’s not, because if it really was as simple as just doing it, people in general would be far more informed than they are. Of course, there are MANY reasons for why this is not a reality today. I will not be able to get EVERY SINGLE reason here in this article, but I’ll attempt to cover the big ones in hope of removing the largest of the roadblocks.

Now, here they are in ‘somewhat’ of a particular order…

  1. Selfishness: This is a HUGE problem. Needy and greedy people want all the glory whenever there is an opportunity for some (even a little). Sure, I know that it appears like it would be easy to overcome this issue, but it’s not.
  2. Alliances: This is kind of a two-parter (at least). Alliances can be with ideologically like-minded people, but then those alliances can separate into subsections: dogmas, doctrines and creeds.
  3. Opposition: Now, this isn’t just the opposite of alliances, but rather there are people who don’t necessarily like the people on ‘their side’, but moreover they can’t STAND the people on the ‘other side’.

When it comes to selfishness, I think that it’s pretty much self explanatory, so I won’t spend much time here. Basically, everyone is selfish, to vastly varying degrees, but selfish nonetheless. Kids are typically the worst offenders and as they mature these urges are supposed to subside. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been happening over the last few generations and the result is what we have today: there’s a reason why the latest adult generation is called the “Me” generation. This can be fixed and MUST be fixed. But that’s another article. Ultimately, we need to stop it, we need to mature and we need to move forward.

With alliances, like I previously mentioned, they are not only divided by fundamental ideologies (and remember, you can’t spell fundamental without MENTAL!), but subsequently break down further into other less like-minded groups.

Sure, you might have Liberals and Conservatives, but not all Liberals or Conservatives think alike. I shouldn’t have to say that, but I do. There are Conservatives that are against abortion, but pro gay marriage. Likewise, there are Liberals who are uncomfortable with gay marriage and are not pro abortion.

But if you ask the average American (and probably anyone, anywhere) you would get an answer entirely different from that. Liberals are ‘open-minded’ and Conservatives are ‘close-minded’, Liberals are ‘educated’ while Conservatives are ‘uneducated’. As someone who is neither one of these groups, I can assure that these presumptions are FAR from accurate.

But people believe them. Why? Because that is the message that is being conveyed by particular groups: political parties, media, celebrities, etc. Is it fair, no, but it is the reality. Like I said, alliances should bring people together, not create division, but that’s what they accomplish more times than not. With that said, the only thing that is more devising than opposing alliances is, well, opposition.

Opposition isn’t just thinking different from others or holding opposing views, but actually hating others, so much in fact, that you may only partner up with certain people and groups because of this mutual distaste for ‘them’.

For example, I know card carrying members (from both the left and the right) who can stand a MAJORITY of their parties, but that hate pales in comparison to what they feel for the people on the ‘other side’. I even hear people (again, on both sides) suggest that the world would be better off if they didn’t exist. Scary, I know, and it’s far more common than you might think.

So, what do we do about it? Good question. Wait, you don’t have an answer? Nope. I wish I did, but I don’t. I do have some suggestions tough.

  1. The first thing we ALL need to do is admit that there is a problem. Like with anything in life, you can’t address something if you don’t admit it exists in the first place.
  2. Next, we have to take personal inventory to see if we (each of us) are guilty of holding such views. Now, to do this, you can’t just ask yourself these questions, but you have to ask others, people you trust to be honest with you, to evaluate your words and actions. Then be willing to take their response to heart. To help you with this procedure, may I suggest that you make some lists. A lucky for you, I wrote an article on it, which can be found here.
  3. Also, we need to keep our eyes open and watch out for such behavior, both within ourselves and in the world in general. We need to be vigilant and honest, to not only ourselves but to others; to everyone we come across.

Well, there you have it. It’s not an exhaustive list (of either causation or solutions) but I think it’s a pretty good start to opening up the floor for discussion. So, then go… discuss…

Thanks for taking the time to read…

— Kevin