Dilemma: Can cooperation “beat out” competition?
A better understanding of the benefits of shared interests versus separate interests allows more room for cooperation in American culture.
Research dating back to the 1800’s repeatedly verifies the benefits of cooperation. Dr. Perry W. Buffington wrote Competition vs. Cooperation, an article detailing interesting findings on this subject.
Cooperating with others makes us feel good. Good feelings enhance overall well-being creating a better mood. This results in better decision making. When making better decisions we feel better about ourselves. When we feel better about ourselves we are healthier and more productive. Being productive becomes fun!
Competition, when used to pit one person against another depletes our energy and induces stress. People often ask, “Isn’t it good to have a healthy sense of competition?” Although this thought is inherent in our culture, many experts favor cooperation.
It is helpful to encourage people to their do “their personal best”. If we can foster a sense of accomplishment for people and provide positive feedback, it wouldn’t be about “doing better than others”. Rather people would feel good about themselves and their contributions to the whole. This enhances self-esteem and boosts confidence. The more confident people are, the less they tend to seek the approval of others. Then creativity can flow unabated.
Cooperation joins us together, fosters creativity, strengthens community, enhances self-esteem, and allows everyone to share their talents without criticism and fear of rejection.
Cooperation can be as simple as showing appreciation, compromising, or engaging in active listening without judgment. It’s never too late to find common ground!