We're Better Together: Heres Why!

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We’re Better Together — Heres Why!

“If you want to go quickly, you can go alone. If you want to go far, you must go together.” African Proverb

One of the smartest decisions that I made in medical school to do it “with” a buddy. To understand the significance of this, you need to understand that a big part of the application process for medical school includes the idea that we know stuff. It isn’t natural to admit that we don’t. I can still remember when I worked up the nerve to be vulnerable and ask my friend, Lynn, if we could make an agreement that if we didn’t understand something, we could be honest ask each other for help. She was delighted (and I think a bit relieved). Our motto: “There are no stupid questions.” It turned out to be a great strategy. We were definitely better together. Chances were that one of us would understand something when the other didn’t. I’m still grateful for the partnership some 30+ years ago. 

In 2018 Cigna published a study on the epidemic of loneliness. They found that the generation of people between 18-22 years old are the loneliest alive today. They are more lonely than the isolated elderly. Based on the data they collected, the authors said that it was not social media that was the problem; it was that people are so busy “doing” that they not very good at “being” with other people. The ramifications of this are tremendous. Not only are rates of depression and suicide higher but people are trying to live life alone and disconnected. If you could sit in Satan’s war room that C. S. Lewis wrote about in his book, The Screwtape Letters, I suspect that you would overhear a lot of talk about Satan’s “Divide-and-Conquer Plan”. The strategy focuses on shame, fear, and isolation. If you want to take people off-line, whatever you do, don’t let them connect with other people.

Keep them alone.

As a physician, I can tell you that those who try to do life alone are not nearly as resilient, happy, or fulfilled as those who connect with a few good friends. 

Nearly 3000 years ago King Solomon said, “A chord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” As a sailor, I assure you he was right. Braided rope is significantly stronger that single strand rope. When you put tension on a braided rope, the tension squeezes the strands together — toward each other. As they become tighter, the rope becomes more compressed and stronger. 

These types of relationships don’t happen by chance. Once you understand the value, you have to be intentional.  It takes three elements to form a rope with other people: 

  • The willingness to take the risk to be vulnerable.
  • The commitment to accept your buddies no matter what they come up with.
  • Unstoppable love that will go the extra mile for your friends.

I have several buddies that form my rope. We have an intentional agreement that includes the following:

  • You can ask me anything.
  • I will always tell you the truth.
  • Hold me accountable.
  • Keep it confidential.

Who’s part of your rope?