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Meaningful Cooperation

Luis A. Marrero, May 25, 2023.

“Everything depends on this single factor, the ability to cooperate.” Alfred Adler. 1932

One of the many things I admire about psychiatrist Alfred Adler is the simplicity of his theory and beliefs. For example, Adler proposes that success in life is directly related to our ability and willingness to cooperate – to demonstrate, as he stated, “fellow feeling and social interest.’ On the other hand, failure in life can be directly attributed to an inability and unwillingness to cooperate with others. In short, many of humanity’s ills are directly attributed to a lack of cooperation.

Interestingly, many before and after Adler have proposed a similar style of life – that if we all collectively care for one another, no one will go wanting. Furthermore, Adler proposes “that the meaning of life is interest in others and cooperation.” Yet, as I have stated in times past, this noble goal is elusive to many. Adler believes we hold back from doing the right things because we wait for others to cooperate first.

It is a remark I often hear when I propose cooperation and interest in others: — “But others don’t show any interest in me!” My answer is always: “Somebody has to begin. If the others are not cooperative, it is not your affair. My advice is that you should begin and not care whether the others are cooperative.”

Alfred Adler

What about you? How can you leverage cooperation to give meaning to your life and others? Will you wait or lead?

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