I have a good friend and mentor who has what I consider to be an unhealthy obsession with acronyms. You know those words where every letter represents another word and before you know you’re up to your neck in linguistic inception. Yeah, those type of acronyms. It’s a bit of a running joke in my friend group that whenever he shares a thought he will bring in an acronym to help us remember it. We’re pretty cool, we know.
Anyways, one acronym he has shared with us is that of ‘team’. It speaks to the power that community has to increase productivity, success, and efficiency as individuals and as a society. The acronym goes like this:
T – Together
E – Everybody
A – Achieves
M – More
What I love about thinking of the community around us as a team is that we can put aside our differences to work towards a common goal. I grew up playing volleyball and the diversity of the people on my team was noticeable to say the least. So much so that I haven’t spoken to any of them since graduating High School, not because of malice, but simply because we are such different people. What is special about such a team, however, is that our difference is put aside when we step on the court because we are all united by a common goal. That is what makes community so beautiful.
In his podcast ‘under the skin’, Russel Brand comments that the trajectory of our society is fast approaching an attitude of cynicism and distrust of one’s fellow man. Other social researches note that terms such as disagree are becoming socially synonymous with ‘hate’ while tolerance is becoming synonymous with “support.” These assumptions are naturally leading us away from the power of togetherness and towards deep rifts in society that I believe is slowing down our productivity.
There is power in community to unite individuals towards a common goal, whatever it may be. Unfortunately, the clearest examples of such unity are in despicable historical events. You can call me overly-ambitious, or too idealistic, but I believe in a future where people can lay aside their differences without compromising who they are for the sake of community success and wellbeing. There are some fundamental things that most people would agree are strong ideals for any community; safety, compassion, empathy, health, and prosperity are just a few examples. Should we press together towards such goals I believe they can be achieved.
Lachlan Harders is a student at Avondale College in Austrailia and a part of the Press Together global team.