Synergy, or not being too full of yourself

I’ve learned lately to see myself the same way I diagnose other people in professional settings: “He thinks that way because…”

Each one of us is different, unique, and brings our own strengths to the table. Each one of us also has our own blind spots.

None of us see the world completely objectively–certainly not in specific situations in which we have vested interest or emotional involvement. We have no problem assenting to that idea. But then when we approach and act on a real world situation, we tend to overlook it.

“He thinks that way because… he doesn’t think about long-term consequences. I need him to understand things like I do.”

This last year I’ve really come to understand and appreciate that just as often, they’re thinking about me, too: “He thinks that way because… he’s unable to see all the alternatives–he’s too linear,” or some other thought pattern.

And it’s not bad. I have had a unique life full of ups and downs and hard work that I am proud of. It has helped make me who I am, and I am confident in what I think and do. But my life has also blinded me from certain truths and ideas. It has biased me against some possibilities and methods.

My co-worker or friend or spouse (etc) has had a different life that might have specially shaped them to have a little different perspective in this area, a little more confidence in that area, and a little more alertness in another area.

Our two minds together own more experience and perspective and capability than my mind or his or hers. On one condition: That we communicate about our different opinions, concerns, perspectives, misgivings, motivations, etc.

If we just keep quiet in hopeless resignation–“they’ll never understand!”–we rob each other of the wisdom we could have shared.

I don’t know it all or have all the answers and I’m not always right. But neither are you. Let’s talk–argue (nicely)–discuss–brainstorm–question–share. If we can genuinely embrace each other’s different perspectives, learn from each other, and allow ourselves to be balanced out by each other–then we’re far better off than if we were just on our own.

If we don’t exercise that attitude, we’d be better off alone. Strength in numbers doesn’t work if there’s not also humility and communication.

Synergy: “The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.”