The Power of Cooperation and the Reason Why We Compete

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” Bertrand Russel

How do you emphasize the importance of cooperation to the people you work with?

Hey guys, let’s go do…umm… work harder and if you good enough you will win a badge at the end of the year, and…like….we are much stronger together than alone. Yeah, that’s it!

If you someone like this, please do humanity a favor and shoot yourself to the moon and think about your life.

My motivation to do something after such talk is like going for a long walk after a leg day. I just can’t.

Why people are trying to motivate us to work together while they creating a highly competitive environment?

You want to build an awesome team and you offering e.g. a luxury vacation with the family for the best performer at work. You don’t need a college degree to figure out how controversial is that.

It sounds great, but…

How would you feel if your boss would say that,

You will be rewarded if you outperform the others, but stay cooperative and support the rookies.

What? How am I supposed to do that?

Don’t be an asshole, just gently push aside anyone standing in your way. It’s forking confusing.

You have to be clear what do you want to achieve.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw

You want people to work for the company or for themselves?

Forcing them to compete with each other will achieve neither. What is a success for one person, is a failure for the other one.

Just like similar situations in life, business or family relationships, the root cause of the problem is a false belief that the successful cooperation will rise from the competitive mindset.

What a bullshirt!

Cooperation is more powerful than competition.

Smart people realize the situation in time, so they need a fast, effective antidote for the poisonous atmosphere they created, a program that will emphasize the true value of cooperation.

The problem is that you can’t get peach from an apple tree. Without changing the mindset, behavior and attitude, you are just pecking the branches, but you have to go down to the root.
Photo by Holly Mindrup on Unsplash

Changing your rewarding system and emphasizing the benefits of cooperation and support would do the magic.

One of the companies I’ve been worked with placed dozens of Chewbacca pictures saying, „Never fly Solo”.

It’s not just ridiculously funny, but also simple. Han could never fly the Falcon alone, which means nobody goes anywhere unless everybody gets there.

You have to switch from independence to mutual dependence.

“Cooperation, which is the thing we must strive today, begins where competition leaves off.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Success fringe upon the mutual striving for win.

But when we are competing for a luxury travel, one of us will lose.

Some people are programmed for this mindset since they were born.

The first and the biggest influential factor is family.

When a child is compared to another, it will be the benchmark for patience, appreciation, and love. The child will practice this long before adulthood.

If love is conditioned, you have to work hard to be loved. It means, without any achievement, you don’t deserve to be loved.

That is a horrible place to grow up.

You think that the values are outside of you, not within.

The personal value is determined by your achievements and constantly compared to others.

What happens when you grow up with a competitive mindset like that?

If I am better than my brothers and sisters, my parents will love me more.
My parents don’t love me like they love my sister. This means I am not that valuable.

The second biggest influential factor in our life is our peers.

Kids need to be appreciated by the parents first. Brothers, sisters, and friends come after. The ones with the same level in any aspect. And we all know how cruel children can be with each other.

People often accepting others based on solely their own norms, expectations and values. This only enhances the competitive mindset in us.

For example, take a look at our education system. It suggests that you can get good grades when someone else is getting bad ones, even if he is in no way inferior to you.

Your personal values are determined by others achievements and failures.

Interpersonal values are not acknowledged.

What’s the value of a goldfish is it’s unable to climb a tree?

Our school grades have societal values, they determine our future opportunities.

The foundation of the educational system is competition, not cooperation. In most of the cases, cooperation means cheating in that perspective.

Take a look at the sports in high school and college. You are forced to believe that life is a grand championship, therefore someone is loosing and someone is victorious.

Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash

Victory means you have to defeat the others.

Of course, this mindset has its own place, where nothing but absolute competition foster and the level of trust is naturally low.

For example the legal systems. Suing someone is casual, which means you want to win at the expense of someone else. It’s obvious we need legal systems, without it the world of Mad Max wouldn’t be fiction anymore.

Legal systems enable our subsistence but don’t create cooperation. Fortunately, not every minute is about life and death situations.

We don’t need to spend our days to compete with our husbands and wifes, children, contributors, neighbors or friends.

How ridiculous to ask, who is winning in your marriage?
You are both winning, or losing.

Our relationships are about mutual dependence and not independence. You can achieve amazing things with collaboration, unity, joining forces.

A great partnership is when two people truly understand and love each other, achieve something larger then either of them could be on their own.

Anything you desire to achieve is depending on the ability to join with others, and the wrong mindset can easily jeopardize that.

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