“Many times a day I realise how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labours of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.”– Albert Einstein
This quote from Albert Einstein calls us to review how much of what influences our actions, thought processes, and accomplishments is added to by other people — whether they are currently around us, have gone before us, or are those we’ve known or only heard of.
Often we feel alone — whether that’s in a position, a decision, emotionally or physically — and yet, the degree of information and influence we are surrounded by on a daily basis is extreme, even compared to Einstein’s time. We are bombarded by input from all sides these days, and if we seek it, the information available to us at the click of a button in the palm of our hand is exponential compared to the days when information was entirely verbal, or only available in print via the newspaper or the local library.
Not only are we spoilt for choice with the avenues of information we can hook ourselves up to on a daily basis, but we’re surrounded by others who drink from the same fire hydrant of knowledge, perspective, and choice. As alone as we may feel at times, our lives are filled with multiple influences, all of which contribute to our thought processes and outcomes.
Indisputable Laws of Teamwork
In his book “The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork”, John Maxwell says “As much as we admire solo achievement, the truth is that no lone individual has done anything of value. The belief that one person can do something great is a myth. There are no real Rambos who can take on a hostile army by themselves. Even the Lone Ranger wasn’t really a loner. Everywhere he went he rode with Tonto! Nothing of significance was ever achieved by an individual acting alone. Look below the surface and you will find that all seemingly solo acts are really team efforts.”
Perhaps it’s worth considering the people who’ve helped form us, who helped get us where we are, and who form part of the team that allows us to achieve what we do. Those people may be part of a family or team that supports us; they may have raised us or spoken into our development. They may be living or dead, available by podcast or video, or survive merely by quotation alone.
I’m grateful for the people who support my life in ways that allow me to do what I do. I’m grateful for the people I draw on to expand my thinking and those in search of similar things who want to share perspective-expanding conversations. I’m grateful for those who challenge and push me to address hard things that force me to leave my comfort zone. I’m grateful for those I know I can call at a moment’s notice for input or a helping hand. I’m grateful for those with a growth mindset who know that investing in their team is the only way forward, and I’m grateful for strong leaders who stand for what they believe in regardless of outside opinion. I’m grateful for those who are also graceful enough to know when to shift their stance and honour others.
Who has contributed to your thought process and belief system over the years? Where do your information and context flow from? Who are the people who’ve helped you get where you are today because of the support they’ve offered or the role they’ve played? Whose perspective do you respect and who set the standards to which you hold yourself? There are those who’ve spoken into our lives in positive ways and there are those who’ve challenged us to rise because they provide an example we strive not to emulate. On any given day, we are surrounded by thought leaders and supporters and underpinned by those whose jobs make ours possible.
None of us is alone. We are all a team effort.
by Christen Killick
March 13th, 2023