I Want to Start a Movement: Interdependence is the Outcome
Years ago, I had a language debate with a colleague who thought our mission was to help people become self-sufficient. I find the term self-sufficient unrelatable for all populations, including the highest achieving. Everyone needs someone else from time to time. So what is the right word to inspire people? What word makes sense to help us see how we are connected yet still possess accountabilities? I have not discovered the perfect word, but I did find one I like: interdependence. It relates very nicely to the themes of the book Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet.
nterdependence holds a great deal of value. It carries our individual giftedness into action. Each of us is part of a giving process which gets something done. The prefix “inter-” appears in the word and means “between.” Interdependence is the reliance of two or more people and the realization that we are not alone.
Some might not like this word because “dependence” makes up the remainder of the word. But like I said before, who doesn’t depend on someone for something? We all rely on schools for education; we rely on electric companies for power; we rely on police officers for protection; we rely on engineers for roads, bridges, and transportation. Not many of us bake our own bread anymore. Not many of us milk our own cows. For the meat-eaters, not many of us hunt and/or process our protein sources. So let’s be honest, we are dependent on others in many ways. We rely on the competency of others, the giftedness of someone who finds it easy to do something we would seek to avoid. We enjoy the process of seeing someone else succeed. Maybe the home team will win next week, but we will watch them regardless.
I think the world would be a better place if we started out with a goals of cooperation, coordination, collaboration — enjoyable interdependence — in mind. I can already feel the burdens being lifted all over.
English novelist George Eliot once said, “What do we live for if not to make life less difficult [for] each other?” In what areas can you contribute to interdependence to make life easier for someone else? What burdens can you help to lift?