Collaboration & Competition

Jessica Shanken

We compete in everything these days. Be it academic excellence, student organizations or even at home with our siblings. It’s all about who’s better than the other or how can we beat the ones we perceive we are in competition with.

What if we thought about collaboration instead… we learn of synergies in school and we talk about it… But do we know what it really means?

Synergies are a formula for success… When I was taught economics, I learned that synergies mean 1+1=3; the very concept blew my mind but fascinated me as it seemed to open a window of new thought.

My understanding of this concept expanded as I became more involved on campus and joined numerous student organizations. Working with people collaboratively gave me a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I realized that I was growing and becoming more successful in everything else that I was doing while accomplishing the organizations goals and leaving behind a legacy. I had a support structure to lift me up when I fell down, and I had friends who inspired me to do better and think bigger.

When we collaborate with others to achieve our goals, we are able to come up with newer and better ideas that often lead to innovation and higher efficiency.

Competitive environments can restrict our ideas, as they tend to be of a single mind, as opposed to collaborative environments which allow us to refine our ideas and build upon them.

Through collaboration we learn to build vibrant communities and as we expand on collaboration, we build bridges between communities and as a result create bigger and better ties in a globally connected world.

Next time you think of a situation as being competitive, just take a moment to think and reevaluate your next step to see if you can make it out to be a collaborative environment geared for your success and the success of those around you.

Jessica Shanken is the Vice President of the Mock Mediation Club.