Should you ever ask certain people what the secret of their success is ,those asked may often reply,
“We are a partnership.”
This applies to a happily married couple, to a duo who run a burgeoning advertising agency, to the group of people who deliver excellent professional services and to the champion sportsmen and women. Think Lennon and McCartney, Laurel and Hardy, Abercrombie and Fitch, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers , Bill and Ted, Batman and Robin and Marks and Spencer. Even those who might be regarded as having achieved their success as an individual will be keen to share the glory and attribute that their success has been as a consequence of a collaboration. The pro golfer who acknowledges his Masters win was down to a joint effort between him and his caddy. The formula one driver who thanks his pit team for their expertise and lightning fast tyre changes and refuels. The Olympic diving champion who thanks his father for all the support over the years in taking him to competitions and training.
The world is geared to encouraging collaboration and driving people to come together for the greater good. It wants people to co-operate, to work together, to support one another and share. It recognises that many things become better when they are combined, joined and complemented. Consider, for example phrases such as
“Two heads are better than one.”
“The more the merrier.”
“A problem shared is a problem halved.”
“Greater than the sum of its parts.”
Look around and everywhere you will see that the world believes that combining is desirable. Gin and tonic, burger and fries, ying and yang, fife and drum, the two Steves in a garage (Jobs and Wozniak), the Owl and the Pussycat and even M & Ms. The message is simple; together we are better.
We hate it.
We do not want to share or pool our resources. What belongs to us always remains with us. We take from others. There is no sense in working together. Not only do we jealously guard what we regard as ours, we fail to see the benefit of partnership. It is an alien concept. If we are to work and live in tandem with others this means that we have to share. We have to share the attention, the credit, the congratulations, the workload and the burden. We find this offends us mightily. There is no sense in sharing the credit with you, that means there is less for us. Less credit equates to less fuel and those are words which strike a sense of dread into our being. Nor will we share the workload by helping, we will not even share by dividing our burden with you, so we each play a part in making the task or problem easier. No, we will dump the lot on you and divest ourselves of any burden whatsoever. Should you solve the problem having been left marooned with it by us and there is the scent of praise in the air, watch how quickly we return to claim it. Yes, the situation was resolved by our quick thinking in delegating to a particular colleague. It was our decisive behaviour and keen leadership qualities which saved the day as we elbow you aside and bask in the congratulatory comments from a higher-up.
Not only will we not work together or share, even in circumstances where normal people would expect that to happen, we regard you as our competition. A couple in a relationship are ordinarily expected to bring different things to the party, support one another, look out for the other, give and take and a fruitful partnership evolves to apparent mutual benefit. That is not the case with us, We regard you as only there to be our appliance and supply us with fuel. We are not designed to do things for you (unless we can see a greater benefit arising for us). You are the enemy. You are trying to hog the limelight that we need. You question us and seek to unseat us from our position of power. Oh yes, we know your game. When you dress up elegantly all you are trying to do is make us look less desirable and shift the focus of everyone’s attention at the party on to you and accordingly you deny us the attention we desperately want. By keeping fit and in shape you are wanting people to be drawn to you, rather than us. Furthermore, you are trying to heighten your desirability so that you can acquire a new partner and leave us. We already have you worked out. You sit and read a lot. We have sussed you out again, You are doing it in the hope that you can gain more knowledge and appear superior to us. You want to belittle us. You want to be able to defeat us in an argument and make us feel small. The cooking class you have signed up for is a ruse by you to demonstrate you are the better cook at home (even though we never do any cooking) but you want to show you are superior to us. Why are you doing this? We are meant to work together aren’t we? You keep doing all these things to try and outshine us, make us look bad and exceed our abilities and we hate this.
Of course we are perfectly entitled to do anything we like to show we are better than you because we are well, better than you. It is also legitimate on our part to keep you browbeaten and under our control. We must not have you competing with us in any way as otherwise you will take away the attention and admiration of others and in turn you will remove the fuel that we need. Like any successful and domineering business (and that is what we are, a business, one that is established for the detection and extraction of fuel) the competition must be diminished and extinguished. That means you.