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Does working with others lead to better results than acting as an individual? Score?

sunny17 2 / 3  
Nov 17, 2014   #1
Many thoughtful people have said that cooperation brings out the best in people and leads to success in almost all endeavors. There is a limit, however, to the value of cooperative behavior, since such behavior may suppress people's willingness to be creative and to stand out from the crowd. Too often, cooperating means going along with the group even if that is not necessarily the best way.

Assignment: Does working with others lead to better results than acting as an individual? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Cooperation is another way of supressing our individuality, hiding our talents in an effort to establish civil relationships with others. It does not allow room for individual progress, in hope that one day, we all may take one giant leap towards success. But success is not achieved through collective efforts, rather it is achieved by exploiting our own different talents, so that we may make the journey to greatness ourselves.

For example, I have always found that I score better on school projects and tests when I work alone. As a child I was always eager to work with my friends, making slideshows and fun structures for presentations. But then I grew up and 'scores' became grades and 'grades' became essential for college. I had always thought that study groups would help me with my weak spots but my grades didn't show that. My grades began to drop with every 'study session' or 'group effort' I tried to pull together. And that's when I began to see things for how they really were. My 'friends' were unknowingly pulling me down, crushing my dreams of achieving a higher grade. 'Study groups', I realised were just a way of wasting time with my friends who perhaps benefited from my help but gave me no advantage whatsoever. And to achieve that higher grade, I knew that I had to pull away from them. I focussed on my real aims in life and that I really wanted to earn a respectable degree in a subject where my passion and talent lay. So I stopped being a shadow to my friends' success and began putting all my time and effort into myself. Not surprisingly, I became a little more attentive in class and a little sharper in tests. I am still in the process of achieving the grades that I want and know that my goals are possible to reach. Had I not stopped being a doormat for my 'friends', I would have never known where my true strengths lie and how to tackle my own weaknesses.

Another example is Charlotte Bronte, who is most recalled for her literary accomplishments like 'Jane Eyre', was born in an era when the opinion of a woman meant little. Women of that time were expected to grow up to become housewives, cleaning and doing little with their lives. Charlotte sent Jane Eyre to a publisher who although rejected it at first, became a huge success when she sent another draft a few months later. Under a false male name, she managed to carry through with her writing career and the publishing company welcomed more pieces of work by her.

Charlotte managed to achieve what most people thought impossible. And even though it was common for women to send out their work under male names at the time, she achieved her goal of becoming a published author by separating herself from the huge majority of females who lived under the oppression of society. She made something out of herself by tackling the troubles life handed her instead of following after others like a lost lamb.

Everyone is wired differently, our strengths and weaknesses are what makes us who we are. And in order to establish not only ourselves as strong individuals but to benefit the whole of our species is to go ahead and try our hands at something we feel most confident in. The basis of our progress in terms of self-conscious evolution has always relied on individuals brave enough to break away from the 'norm' and create a new perspective. We waste our potential when we compromise our gifts for the sake of others.

lightjade 1 / 15 12  
Nov 18, 2014   #2
Hi Sana,

I'd just like to weigh in on the content and feel of this essay, and since I'm not an expert, please take my comments with a grain of salt. I grasp your stance right off the introduction, and it is strong and impressionable, if not radical. Most people would go with the politically correct answer and have a balanced argument citing the merits of both working together and alone, but it's understandable why you take this viewpoint. However, I'm not sure what this essay is for, but if this is an essay prompt for university applications, I would say that this piece leaves a rather unpleasant impression of you.

I think you've grasped the crux of the issue: groupthink isn't the best, but have you considered that 'it takes a village to raise a child'? Your essay is a bit jarring with your examples, especially in the case of your own personal reflections of studying in groups. As a reader, I would write you off as a selfish and mercenary person, and most definitely not a team player. I'm not sure if you want to leave with that! I think if you can lead your anecdotes with less of how your friends are lecherous creatures, and more of how you learned that independence is important for personal growth (yes, discovering your strengths) and looking beyond a short-term goal of scores/good degree. If you have even more pivotal group work projects, perhaps with a community organisation, that have taught you that you need to pull your own weight to succeed, then it would be more believable. Your other example about Charlotte Bronte can border on condescending with regards to the women of that era (eg ...following others like a lost lamb). Instead of hinting that she was an independent woman amidst vapid housewife wannabes, her breakaway is more compelling to be argued as an empowerment of women. After all, she was more of a victim of circumstance perpetuated by the male-dominated society of the time. But natch, that's a matter of opinion!

Again, if this is geared towards leaving a favorable impression of your character, you would add a lot of value to this exposition by injecting humility. You ought to be a great person to know in real life right? :) Otherwise, if this essay is non-related to universities/scholarships, just ignore me haha.

I hope others help you with stylistic/grammatical help! All the best!

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