Synergy

Synergy is when a group becomes greater than the sum of its parts.  It is one of the greatest and most fulfilling experiences of which humans are capable and is behind many of our greatest accomplishments.

Attracting your tribe is really a two-fold process.  One part is finding others to work with.  The other part is finding others who want what you want to give, and learning everything about them.

Those who have the greatest difficulties in their career are often those who are most isolated.  The self-knowledge and motivation required to find and succeed in a profession is difficult to come by in a vacuum.

But due to the structure of modern life, for some the question emerges: why bother talking to other people?  Many Asian countries are undergoing a crisis in which many (primarily men) remain indoors and isolated for years at a time, rarely venturing from their quarters.  A common scourge of the rich, and the reason why the rich are often not as happy as imagined by the public is because money is the most powerful tool for ridding oneself of the need for others.  But it is that very need which paradoxically leads many to a life worth living.

For much of history being around others was not a choice.  Thankfully, this is still true in early life – indeed without human interaction humans are incapable of developing language or anything approaching intelligence.  However, after formal schooling ends, we are sometimes thrown back on ourselves.  Individuals are expected to go off on their own, get a job and become “independent”.  This independence can end up looking a lot like solitude due to the lack of institutions (religious and otherwise) that bring people together.  Life can easily end up being a never-ending cycle of go-to-work, go-home-and-waste-time and go-to-sleep.

For introverts this especially is liable to happen, as many can (and sometimes do) live in complete isolation.  For many, whether to be around others is an option, rather than an inescapable part of the fabric of life.

However, this question about why we talk to others is difficult to consider, because we’re not put together to ask it.   Indeed, this has never before in history been a question – isolation meant death  (which is why banishment was so feared in the ancient world – it was a death sentence).

So I believe this is the wrong question to ask.  It essentially asks what the “benefits” of talking to others is – and while there undoubtedly are benefits, I think that looking at it from this vantage undermines authentic relationships.  We talk to other people because we are social creatures.  If we wish our relationships to have a solid foundation our actions should flow out of the foundation of who we are and not because we are pursuing “benefits”.

Alfred Adler considered this question often in his writings, and has this to say about its etiology:

Is social interest inborn, or does one have to instill it in people? Of course it is inborn, but it can only become developed when the child is already exposed to life around him. It can only unfold in social association, in the same way that character traits are formed.

True happiness is inseparable from the feeling of giving. Everyone who is deeply unhappy – the neurotic and the desolate person – stem from among those who were deprived in their younger years of being able to develop the feeling of community; the courage, the optimism, and the self-confidence that comes directly from the sense of belonging. This sense of belonging that cannot be denied anyone, against which there are no arguments, can only be won by being involved, by cooperating, and experiencing, and by being useful to others. Out of this emerges a lasting, genuine feeling of worthiness.

Quotes:

The Dumbest Guy in the Room
http://tomtunguz.com/the-dumbest-guy-in-the-room

When I asked him how he became such a great athlete, he said, “I made sure I was always the slowest guy in the boat. I knew I could push myself much harder if I needed to keep up with the fastest guys.”

How To Get Hired
http://sivers.org/gethired

Focus on one company… Tell them how much you want to work for them… Be persistent (but succinct)… Do this until hired.

8 Steps to Getting What you Want… Without Formal Credentials
http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2011/09/29/8-steps-to-getting-what-you-want-without-formal-credentials/

“Read one professional, business, or how-to book related to your chosen field per week. Choose a mix of classics in the field, along with some off-the-beaten-path books you discover… These books are typically written by active practitioners in your field, and not theorists… Thus, these books… will be infinitely more valuable… Then write one blog post each week detailing exactly what you learned from that week’s book.”

What I Did When I Couldn’t Find a Job
http://chronicle.com/article/What-I-Did-When-I-Couldnt/66281/

I’m learning a lot about reporting, writing, and running a small newspaper, not to mention life and politics in northeast India and Asia in general. I suspect I am getting more intimate and comprehensive journalism experience here than I would in almost any internship, temp position, or entry-level job that I could have found back in the States. In exchange for my work, Pema found me a flat to stay in and arranged for my meals. The cost of living here is so cheap that, with my room and board taken care of, I can live comfortably on around $10 a week.

NOTES:

I think studies on marriage are effective examples of the latter

For self-knowledge, sustained interaction with others who know and care about us brings out parts of ourselves that otherwise would have lain dormant.  For motivation,

Kant and individuals as ends, not means.

College and relationships

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