“If you want to fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” -African Proverb
I heard this quote in a seminar I went to about sustainability yesterday. The seminar didn’t really capture my interest but I am glad I went nevertheless because it is the inspiration for this post.
When the speaker ( I am drawing a blank on her name) used this quote, it stuck a chord with me. I have heard it before but I had never really thought about it from an analytical POV. The quote is supposed to support teamwork and togetherness and makes the point that being willing to help others and working together will allow then entire group to go farther. The quote does a good job making this point, but I think that point can be easily countered.
Speaking for myself, I am a very introverted person. I prefer to get things done on my own, on my time, and at my pace. I have always preferred working by myself rather than in group projects because that way I am the only one in control of the end product. This quality of myself is a double edged sword. I am very good at working alone and to be fair, my group skills could use some work. Despite being introverted, I don’t have a problem communicating with others and I enjoy talking with others at certain times and places. I just prefer to spend my free time by myself, playing games, reading, or writing down my thoughts (thats why i started this blog). My dad thinks this makes me an antisocial person who doesn’t make friends or go out enough. I think it just means that I am different than he is. I prefer to spend time with myself where as he prefers to spend time with friends/ family drinking beer and watching football. Neither one of us is doing anything wrong by choosing these activities and we shouldn’t judge each other for the activities we enjoy.
Back to the quote, I believe that by going alone, I can get far. I think forming too many attachments and worrying to much about other people can hold a person back just as much. By going it alone, I chose to rely on myself for the things I need and as a result, it teaches me to become stronger and better at various things. Working as a team where everyone does his or her own part, doesn’t allow people to get better at the things they need to. People can suffer from relying too much on others which can come back to bite them in the ass. Going alone has it’s advantages and as of now, I think my independence/ introvert-ness will allow me to go far. I know eventually I will be assigned a group project and will probably have to work in a team during my career. I m okay with that and I will face the challenge head-on when I approach it.
I believe that both working as a team and working individually have their benefits and drawbacks. I think the African proverb makes it seem like groups will always out-preform the individual. That isn’t always true, the man that can teach himself how to start a fire is a lot wiser than the man who relies on his brother to start it. I know that I can make it far and be successful by relying on myself. I think my self-reliance will take me far in life and I hope to prove that in the future. So, for all you shy, introverted people out there, don’t feel bad about yourself and understand that a quality like this is a strength. Use it to your advantage to get ahead of the pack. There isn’t one road to success, and you don’t necessarily have to go together to get there.