Better yourself, better your world

Together we achieve more. This concept of “team” is a concept I learned through sports as early as middle school. I am sure anyone who was or is currently part of a team understands this concept as well. While I was a part of multiple winning programs throughout my time in sports I only had this big picture view of the “team” concept growing up.

It was only after the loss of two of my teammates who were like brothers to me when I started taking a closer look at this this phenomenon we call “working as a team.”

How is it that group of individuals, even kids, can become a unit for a purpose? What brings people from all walks of life; pulling together for one cause?

Arguments can be made that “the goal” which the group is pursuing is the main reason for this cohesiveness. Also, arguments can be made for how the group is training together as another cause for their success. All of those arguments have validation in their own regards but I don’t believe the goal or the process should be given credit.

I believe a team’s opportunity for success lies within the individual.

It is ultimately the individual who creates the team’s ability to become successful. It is only when the individual decides to dedicate time and effort toward improving him or herself; does a team have the opportunity to become successful.

When I took a closer look at the teammates from my high school football team I saw something that is usually overlooked in team sports. That is, the individual’s efforts to improve their own abilities. Being part of my high school football team I had the opportunity to train 3-5 days a week with each one of my teammates. If you had the opportunity to be in the weight room while we were lifting you would have seen a group of individuals lifting by themselves with each other.

There was not a lift or movement in the weight room that required a team effort. In these moments each player wasn’t lifting to make the team stronger, he was lifting to make himself stronger.

Surely, somewhere in the back of his mind he was thinking of the team’s goals but he was lifting to make himself stronger. We didn’t lift weights to make the guy next to us stronger. Even though that is exactly what we were doing, making the person next to us stronger.

Physically we were not making each other stronger but mentally and emotionally we were growing profoundly stronger. Through our effort to improve ourselves we were simultaneously improving each other.

How does the improvement of one person create improvement in others? Put simply, inspiration. We created inspiration for each other because we saw how our teammates were able to improve and we wanted similar results.

When you see someone who has become successful, what is your first thought? “I want to be successful like them.” Or “How can I become successful like them?”

Success breeds success. It has been said, “we are the average of the five people we hangout with the most.” When we are around people whom constantly to strive for improvement we will also strive to become better.

I believe our high school football team had the success it did because of this fact. We had individuals who were eager to become the best athlete they could be. The eagerness of individuals spread throughout the team.

Where does “team” concept come in when a group of individuals are working individually?

It is my experience the “team” concept arises from the individual’s efforts to improve him or herself because they know and trust that the person next to them is doing the same. Improving. As we strive to improve ourselves we inspire and encourage others to do the same.

My dream is to take this concept and implement it into a community setting. I believe we can achieve tremendous goals as a community by using this very concept. Improve individually for the people next to us. If we can focus on improving ourselves we can inspire others to do the same.

Improvement breeds improvement.

Focusing on ourselves may seem as though we are being selfish. However, it is not selfish to care about ourselves; it is selfish to not care about the people around you.

“Better yourself, Better your world.”

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Stephen Mattson

Inspiration. Faith. Christian Culture. Writing.

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