Cooperation. It’s an important word. We think so much about achieving goals, that we rarely stop to think that the best things we may get from a joint project derive from working together. The shared sense of accomplishment is important. As exhilarating as it is to pull something off on your own, there’s nothing quite like looking at one another at the end of a haul and saying… we did this. Having someone to kick around possibilities can leverage both the scope and the outcomes of the project. And being able to reflect jointly on the failures and figure out how to recapture lost effort and lost ground is a good indicator that you not only might be able to figure out where you went afield, you also have an increased possibility of finding ways to turn those failures to your advantage. And what’s better? there are long-term health advantages to belonging to a group.
It’s nice to have people invested in a project you care about. While most of us want enough personal risk-taking and satisfaction in a job, it’s good to know that what you think is important is important to someone else. We’re all looking for meaning… and shared meaning deepens the experience.
And then there’s the encouragement piece of cooperation. Sometimes it’s passive — someone else’s success will buoy yours. Sometimes our load is eased by more active encouragement whether it’s a hearty “Well Done!” or a well-timed, “You can do this,” or even an enthusiastic “Look what we’ve accomplished!”
Cooperating means leveraging everyone’s skills (viva les differences!), celebrating the successes (see earlier “Look what we’ve accomplished!” or the comfort of numbers (“we’re all in this together!”). I haven’t checked the studies, but my guess is that a high cooperation rate is a fairly good indicator of success. It’s certainly a pretty good indicator of a good time being had by all — and an assurance that someone will be around to break open that bottle of bubbly something!
On the Peace road, where there are so many obstacles, cooperation makes the journey more comfortable and more enjoyable, and adds a lot to our probabilities of progress. Let’s hear it for the Muppets who start us out early on a great road! And let’s consider how we might cooperate on our journeys toward Peace.