Our society is structured to support competition over symbiotic construction of commerce. We are constantly bombarded with technology in the form of social networking, reality television, media news reporting, sports, entertainment, advertising. All of these serve to send messages that “you or me” is the healthy, or normal, approach to competition. There is a winner and a loser. Think of any sort of competition, be it coverage of some news event to a marathon race and everything in between. So, the message is that for me to succeed you need to fall short. We buy into this because this is the way America has become the land of dreams. Really?
Once while climbing the ladder of corporate America I had the opportunity to take an “out bound” team building course. One of the exercises was a walking race along a path designed with obstacles. So intent on being “the winner” I was quickly passing those who were having some difficulty. At one point I found myself struggling to keep up and suddenly from behind someone grabbed my hand and pulled me along. I was so moved and taken immediately out of my “me” mind. Another individual cared more about assisting me than running past me. That experience changed my life because I understood the power of working together so that everyone wins. It matters not who gets a trophy. What matters is the realization that the trophy is symbolic of our working together, grabbing the hands of each other, standing on each other’s shoulders and pulling together.
This is the real potential of networking, authentic and done with intention. We are all in this together….let’s all win. Because if you win so do I.
Larry Buffington is a freelance writer and poet living and writing in Miami Beach, striving daily to stay connected with the spirit of youth.