But look at the difference in results.
How much negative energy is typically expended when people try to solve problems or make decisions in an interdependent reality? How much time is spent in confessing other people’s sins, politicking, rivalry, interpersonal conflict, protecting one’s backside, masterminding, and second-guessing? It’s like trying to drive down the road with one foot on the gas and the other foot on the brake.
And instead of getting a foot off the brake, most people give it more gas. They try to apply more pressure, more eloquence, more logical information to strengthen their position.
The problem is that highly dependent people are trying to succeed in an interdependent reality. They’re either dependent on borrowing strength from position power and they go for win-lose or they’re dependent on being popular with others and they go for lose-win. They may talk win-win technique, but they don’t really want to listen; they want to manipulate. And synergy can’t thrive in that environment.
Insecure people think that all reality should be amenable to their paradigms. They have a high need to clone others, to mold them over into their own thinking. They don’t realize that the very strength of the relationship is in having another point of view. Sameness is not oneness; uniformity is not unity. Unity, or oneness, is complementariness, not sameness. Sameness is uncreative…and boring. The essence of synergy is to value the differences.
One of the very practical results of being principle-centered is that it makes us whole — truly integrated. People who are scripted deeply in logical, verbal, left-brain thinking will discover how totally inadequate that thinking is in solving problems that require a great deal of creativity. They become aware and begin to open up a new script inside their right brain. It’s not that the right brain wasn’t there; it just lay dormant. The muscles had not been developed, or perhaps they had atrophied after early childhood because of the heavy left-brain emphasis of formal education or social scripting.
When a person has access to both the intuitive, creative, and visual right brain, and the analytical, logical, verbal left brain, then the whole brain is working. In other words, there is psychic synergy taking place in our own heads. And this tool is best suited to the reality of what life is because life is not just logical — it is also emotional.
valuing the Differences
Valuing the differences is the essence of synergy — the mental, the emotional, the psychological differences between people. And the key to valuing those differences is to realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are.
If I think I see the world as it is, why would I want to value the differences? Why would I even want to bother with someone who’s “off track”? My paradigm is that I am objective; I see the world as it is. Everyone else is buried by the minutia, but I see the larger picture. That’s why they call me a supervisor — I have supervision.
If that’s my paradigm, then I will never be effectively interdependent, or even effectively independent, for that matter. I will be limited by the paradigms of my own conditioning.
The person who is truly effective has the humility and reverence to recognize his own perceptual limitations and to appreciate the rich resources available through interaction with the hearts and minds of other human beings. That person values the differences because those differences add to his knowledge, to his understanding of reality. When we’re left to our own experiences, we constantly suffer from a shortage of data.
Is it logical that two people can disagree and that both can be right? It’s not logical: it’s psychological. And it’s very real. And unless we value the differences in our perceptions, unless we value each other and give credence to the possibility that we’re both right, that life is not always a dichotomous either/or, that there are almost always Third Alternatives, we will never be able to transcend the limits of that conditioning.
So when I become aware of the difference in our perceptions, I say, “Good! You see it differently!
Help me see what you see.”
If two people have the same opinion, one is unnecessary. It’s not going to do me any good at all to communicate with someone else who sees only the old woman also. I don’t want to talk, to communicate, with someone who agrees with me; I want to communicate with you because you see it differently. I value that difference.
By doing that, I not only increase my own awareness; I also affirm you. I give you psychological air. I take my foot off the brake and release the negative energy you may have invested in defending a particular position. I create an environment for synergy.
The importance of valuing the difference is captured in an often-quoted fable called “The Animal School,” written by educator Dr. R. H. Reeves.
Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “New World,” so they organized a school. They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming, and flying. To make it easier to administer, all animals took all the subjects.
The duck was excellent in swimming, better in fact than his instructor, and made excellent grades in flying, but he was very poor in running. Since he was low in running he had to stay after school and also drop swimming to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school, so nobody worried about that except the duck.
The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup in swimming.
The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustrations in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the tree-top down. He also developed Charley horses from over-exertion and he got a C in climbing and a D in running.
The eagle was a problem child and had to be disciplined severely. In climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way of getting there.
At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well and also could run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.
The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to the badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.
Force Field Analysis
In an interdependent situation, synergy is particularly powerful in dealing with negative forces that work against growth and change.