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.