To Live Free Is To Do This One Thing More

Photo by Constantin Wenning on Unsplash

Have you ever had those weeks where people you haven’t heard from in a long time suddenly reach out to you? For me, it’s been a lot of that case this past week.

I heard from a few commenters of my articles today and saw some familiar people engaging with my content (thank you for that!).

But also in my personal life there’s been a good amount of that too. On Tuesday, I got an email from the business administration secretary from the university I attended asking whether I was still tutoring students. A few emails later and I’m officially back on the list of tutors, though I’ll be providing remote tutoring only.

And just yesterday, I reconnected with a former GoodLife trainer I was with for a time while they were still working at the facility.

With the start of this week feeling a bit dreadful and restrictive, it only took a slight change in my life for me to feel my usual optimistic self. Things still need to improve of course and there’s still the fact I can’t find work for the life of me, but I’m taking things one step at a time.

And I’m doing more of this one thing that we tend to forget to do. Or at least I tend to forget to do.

Reach out and find something better through camaraderie.

We Are Collaborators By Instinct

There’s a lot that we are by nature. We judge others. We contradict. We quantify things.

We do a lot of things that can hinder or help us.

But one thing we are innately is collaborators, working together and finding common ground.

It’s hard to say that given how politics is a heated topic with very extreme views and hate flying around. It’s hard to say that with a war going on and countries squabbling over whether or not some country did a genocide or not.

It’s hard to say that when individuals ignore homeless people looking for help.

Now obviously context matters and not everyone can help with every single problem out there in the world. But at the end of the day, there is definitely this compulsion or instinct to help.

To engage with one another.

And it’s this instinct, this natural tendency, that is able to set us free and make our lives ultimately better.

Things Worsen When Doing Things Alone

We’re all capable individuals I’m sure. We’ve got individual talents. We’ve got skills. Some of us have years of experience to tap into.

We know our shit when it comes to our thing.

Whatever that thing is.

But the more that I journey through this thing called life, the more I realize how much worse it can be when you’re doing things alone. Sure, the person that has to pull the trigger has to be you and only you. But there is nothing stopping anyone from adjusting your aim or moving the target closer.

Yes, everything we do with our lives is on us and no one else. But that doesn’t mean we have to do everything to get up to that point.

In school I was an average student. I didn’t study for tests. I rarely studied for exams. I never asked questions as I “understood the material” full well.

Come test time, my scores were middling. I didn’t suffer from test anxiety. I instead blamed the fact tests were not adequate to measure my intelligence or comprehension of the topic.

I did this well into university until I graduated.

The one exception to this was when I tutored a group on a finance class. It was one of those classes I had to retake when I transferred my college credits over. As such, I had previous knowledge along with the current class material to help others out.

But it took only that one session for me to begin to change my thinking about camaraderie.

Mind you it still took years for the lesson to sink in. But time and time again, I remind myself of that session and what it felt like.

How I performed better thanks in part to the several days of studying with others.

I can’t pinpoint exactly how I performed better though. My overall performance on the class and the exam was still average — as expected. But it felt like I understood the topic better.

Not just because I was studying. But rather studying with others.

No doubt we’re capable of many things on our own. So many functions and tasks and ideas can be done on our own with enough dedication and time.

But as that study session reminds me, things could be better when done in groups or at least pairs. When we do things not alone.

This rule applies to not just studying, but with all things in our lives.

And the further we isolate ourselves in a task or objective, the worse that it can turn out for us. Maybe not immediately, but soon enough.

We Start To Be Freer When We Work Together To Achieve Something

A lot of people seek out self-help for all kinds of reasons. But sooner or later things start to twist and get confusing. Self-help gurus cultivate cults rather than communities. Some gurus focus on their views and pass them off as “universal truths” or the “way the world works”.

There’s no collectiveness beyond the swarms of people they gather around them to validate their ideas.

It’s individualism shrouded in this sense that we’re all in this together. A hint of truth before being baited into something deeper, cynical, twisted, or hateful.

This was sort of the case with that gym trainer I reconnected with yesterday. I heard from another gym member that there was “some drama” that happened that ultimately resulted in him leaving.

What the full reason was simply greed.

They wanted him to get more members rather than work with existing clients. Between jacking up membership prices, working with 20 or more clients while hunting for more isn’t all that practical.

Especially when there isn’t much incentive to do so.

When thinking about yourself, one pushes others away. In this case, the local GoodLife lost a personal trainer that has decades of experience and training in various fields.

This pushback resulted in him teaching classes and doing what he wanted to do from the start when I first met him a few years ago.

To assemble a comprehensive training program to help anyone with building muscle, losing fat, or any other health goal. And to do that through feedback through the people he’s met over the years.

A collective group feeding into a system that can spread out to others.

This is on top of him making more than what he made at GoodLife and feeling more energized and overall happy judging by our conversation.

Collaboration is a lot easier to achieve than we think. It’s about getting yourself out of the individualistic mindset and that honestly is the toughest part.

I’ve had to remind myself time and time again to engage with people, to blurt out my thoughts, and to do that consistently rather than “do my own thing and let it cook.”

Things don’t always work that way or better when you do things alone.

Beyond that, it’s getting yourself into some new habits to encourage collaboration. For example:

  • I’m part of a community where two guys created a productivity app that thousands of people come together and just work. We talk a little and share our stories and struggles from time to time, but it’s that collective hive mind that feels good to be in. Indulge in it and it can change your thinking a little bit.
  • Work on something bigger than yourself. Communities are often formed when someone is trying to build something bigger. Something so big that one person can’t do alone forces one to seek help.
  • Or sometimes it’s reminding yourself how far you’ve come with the help of someone else. Reminding ourselves that we are here because someone else did a thing at some point can be humbling and encourage us to collaborate.

Enjoyed the article? Please consider offering your support!

👉 Join the 1+ members on Patreon and get notifications for when articles are published and for other perks in the future.

👉 Check out how I’ve boosted my productivity this year!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *