Harnessing the Power of Collective Effort

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A few blocks from my apartment in Osaka is a lovely park. Coming here is part of my morning routine as I spend this month in Japan.

As I sit watching this neighborhood in Fukushima Ward awaken, I notice movement out of the corner of my eye—a stream of people coming my way. Rakes and bags in hand, dozens of locals descend upon every nook and cranny and corner of the park.

Individually, they each gather up the leaves around them. Collectively, they bag all of the fallen leaves in 10 minutes. Work done, they stream back out, leaving the park clean and ready for others to enjoy.

I’ve noticed that this kind of collective effort is often overlooked in professional and personal endeavors. Instead of asking for help, we bear burdens and shoulder responsibilities by ourselves.

Why do we do this? My own reasons have varied. Pride kept me from asking for the help I needed. Concern that others wouldn’t meet my standards barred me from making requests. Fear that I’d be rejected kept me stuck doing more than one person should do.

Today I’m grateful that I’ve acquired a healthy habit of asking for help. Do I do this perfectly? Hell no! I’m still very human and very much a work in progress. But I’ve made progress and continue to do so.

How about you? Where in your personal or professional life could you benefit from some help? How could some collective effort move things forward faster? Who might assist you with a project and experience some benefits in doing so?

Scott WintripHarnessing the Power of Collective Effort

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