by Diego Nascimento

I was 22 years old when I climbed the Andes for the first time. As the path reached higher levels, the cold became more intense. The peaks covered with snow exhibited an amazing spectacle of nature, but also warned of the dangers of going too far. At a certain stretch of the journey I saw a rustic house made of stone, a small building which was visibly old and had profound meaning.

Once I reached three thousand meters of altitude I asked the natives who were closest to my group what that stone hut was doing there. The answer was remarkable: the house served as a refuge for any who chose to continue their journey or who needed shelter, especially during periods of snowfall. Most impressive is that temporary guests had the habit of leaving blankets and food for the next travelers or sportsmen who needed shelter. A true and deep sense of community.

This account demonstrates an increasingly scarce attitude in the professional environment. The “I” is more important than the “we.” The workplace has no room for “people who don’t need anything or anyone.”  No one lives alone. We are part of a chain of actions which join us together. Regardless of the size of the company or project to be undertaken, it is critical to think that being a team is the key to success. Unfortunately, there are people who do not think this way and make individualism their trademark.  Consider the example above: outsiders who use the cabin have no idea who will be the next guest but still make a point to share their food with them.  Would that every company would have teams that follow that same thinking. How many victories would we share on a daily basis?

The saddest thing about this is that the professional individualism has reached to the family. I know people who are able to cheat out their own mothers just because of a selfish desire, forgetting that family is also a team.

I am an observer. Within a few minutes of conversation I am clearly able to get the sense of individualism or community of the people. Their words convey feelings and body language as well. We have to be careful in our daily lives. The workplace is too precious and important to waste time with feelings of pride and selfishness.

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