The act of working together.
Collaboration is the cornerstone of all successful societies and enterprises.
Before you question the veracity of that statement, think about how food ends up on your plate. Can you see the long line of people that collaborate to get it there? It starts with a farmer. It involves the person that made the plate and the person regulating the supply of gas or electricity to your kitchen. It ends with you. There are many others in the chain.
Even solitary pursuits, like writing a book, involve working with others to get that book into the hands of readers. Maybe you think that in today’s world of self-published ebooks an author can do it all alone? It doesn’t happen that way.
In my case, I’m collaborating with Amazon, who is collaborating with internet service providers, so that you can read books on your device of choice. Even Apple collaborates with Amazon so that you can download the Kindle App and read books purchased from Amazon on your iPad or iPhone. That’s the thing with collaboration – all parties get something out of it.
Every employer – employee relationship is a collaboration. Sadly, not all collaborations are based in equal relationships. If they were, governments wouldn’t be having discussions about increasing the minimum or basic wage and we wouldn’t be hearing stories of exploitation of employees by employers.
Isn’t it strange that we know that we need each other to be successful but, at the same time, we think it’s okay or smart to take advantage of others in the name of self-interest?
Self-interest is the Achilles’ heel of all societies and enterprises.
If you think that’s a bit strong, what do you think is driving the regime in Syria? What do you think led to the 2008 global financial crisis? Why do you think the earth is polluted? Why do you think it’s so challenging to get action on climate change? Why do you think we have special interest lobby groups?
I’d like to see more collaboration on working for the common good of everyone on the planet from every nation, community, corporation and individual.
It’s not that hard. All it requires is that we recognise the short-sightedness of acting only in our own self-interest.
It’s a small planet, friends; and we’re all on it together – breathing the same air.
Peter Mulraney is a creative writer from Australia. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, and Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic. He has also published colouring books and journals under the Sharing the Journey banner.