We human beings are team animals.
We are not solitary animals.
None of us would have survived to adulthood without a team of at least a few other human beings.
The Basic Principles
- We are a social species — actually we are a cooperative social species — and we have a biological/physiological/survival NEED “to belong” in an interdependent cooperative group — i.e. on a team. Edward O. Wilson makes a convincing case for our “eusocial” cooperative nature.
- Even more basic than the need to belong is the biological/physiological/survival need to “feel safe” internally in order to perform optimally (See our Safe to Be You project). Yet these two fundamental biological needs are intimately connected. When a human being doesn’t have a clear, internal sense of “I belong here,” that’s a clear sign he/she doesn’t “feel internally safe” in that moment/situation, and he/she will be more likely to be tense, on-guard, defensive, not open, aggressive or passive-aggressive, critical/judgmental — and to go into some variation of “fight or flight or freeze” behavior — either situationally or chronically.
- It’s functional to go defensive or aggressive (fight or flight) when one is in danger of being attacked by others, but in most daily situations in modern urban life we are not in danger of being attacked by all the strangers at the grocery store, the mall, the gym, at school, at parties, at the beach, etc. etc. — i.e in most situations in daily life there is no reality need to be defensive-avoidant or defensive-aggressive.
- It’s a fundamental biologically based, survival skill of healthy human development to be able to quickly evaluate a reality sense of “I belong” or “I don’t belong” with the “I don’t belong” awareness automatically triggering either fight or flight.
- In hunter-gatherer tribes and small, close-knit, farming communities, it was/is easier to internalize a sense “I belong,” because it was/is reinforced externally every day and in every way.
- In modern urban life it is much harder (under statement!) to find external reinforcement that “I belong.” We are surrounded by strangers all day and most of our necessaries of life are provided by strangers. Even in work situations there is no strong “we-all-belong-here culture” because many (if not most) workers/employees/contractors can be “let go” on a whim of the higher-ups. One of the major goals/purposes/missions of the this project is to help people realize that we need to keep reminding/training ourselves to know “I belong” in all those many situations of daily life when we are “at the mercy of strangers.”
The Framing of the Message:
Who’s On Your Life Team? Who Helps you Stay Alive?
Who provides the necessaries of life for helping you and your loved ones to stay alive and thrive every day? For most grown-ups now living in urban or suburban areas of the world (more than 50% of us now), our daily requirements for living are provided by strangers:
How many real people are on your life team – know you personally and actually care about whether you live or die, much less care about helping you thrive?
The “Who’s On Your Life Team? focus of this project will explore the reality of modern urban life that for most of us, our “Life Team” is composed of strangers that have no commitment or even care for our lives.
If you do have “a team” of people who care about whether you live or die, chances are that they’re not really on your “Life Team” – chances are, more likely than not, that they’re on your Happiness Team, Your Effectiveness/Success Team, or your learning Team — not your “Life Team.”
Who’s On Your Happiness Team? Who Wants the Best for You?
As cooperative animals we have a biological need to belong “on the team.”
When we human beings don’t have that sense of “belonging,” we don’t/won’t have a healthy sense of self, don’t/won’t have a basic sense of well-being; don’t/won’t have a basic sense of “life is good;” don’t/wont have a sense of being happy to be alive.
How many people in your life do you know who:
- Want the best for you?
- Are cheering for your success & happiness?
- Accept you as you are — with your strengths AND your weaknesses?
- Help you feel good about yourself?
- Help you have that sense of “belonging”?
Those are the people who are on your “Happiness Team”
Who’s on your success/effectiveness team? Who Helps you Win in Your Daily Life?
We human beings evolved in small groups where success for the individual was most always clearly related to team success. It is still a truism that no one reaches high levels of success in life without help/assistance from a lot of other people, whether or not one recognizes his/her success as “team success” or not.
Who helps you be successful/effective in your daily life? In your work life?
Who’s on your learning team? Who Helps you Improve Your Skills?
We are “cultural animals” with a large part (if not most) of our learning coming from our group cultural patterns.
Learning for human beings is indeed a team sport. We learn from others – from their strengths and weaknesses — from their example. Yet the “learning culture” in many modern human societies treats formal education as a zero-sum competitive activity — rather than the cooperative/interactive learning process, which it really is.
The Media for the Message:
- Website, blog, podcasts, videos, online interviews with researchers/teachers/recognized authorities, focusing on research that supports our thesis that we human beings are “team animals” with a biological need to belong to a cooperative, interdependent, caring group or groups — and the consequences for individuals when they don’t confidently feel that sense of confident — and for society.
- Successful research-based, culture-help/self-help book for general mainstream audience, synthesizing the “Who’s On Your Team?” message in clear, easily-accessible language.
- Books, manuals & web content (including audio & video), for business owners & managers, parents, teachers, coaches, therapists, and even for children, to teach and encourage our basic “team message” applicable in all areas of life. We are convinced that each of our four (4) “frame areas” outlined above have large potential audiences for this message.
#1: To make a strong, convincing, culturally influential case for the basic principles that our team/cooperative group nature is an important biological imperative for us human beings — as opposed to a being a “moral imperative” or a “personality/temperament imperative.”
#2: To bring the team/cooperative/eusocial research to life in creative and effective ways to help people “get” the reality of their team nature for individual success, health (inner balance) and happiness in every aspect of their lives
#3: To really “get out the message” that “team play” at home (with your spouse, children, parents, extended family); at work (with bosses/superiors, with co-workers, with customers/clients, with vendors); in your neighborhood (with your neighbors and their loud music or with the neighbors and your loud music or whatever); with service providers (yes even the customer service reps on the phone from South Dakota or the Phillipines); with friends (even the self-centered, less functional ones) — is about SKILL . . NOT “personality” or “temperament” or “character” . . . and that ANYONE (who wants to) can improve their “team skills”, their relating skills.
#4: To create great content and programs that are demonstably effective in motivating and helping people improve their “team skills” at home, at work, in the neighborhood, with service providers, with friends, and even with “difficult people.”
A psychotherapist who resonates with the goals/objectives of this project to Educate the Culture about our “team nature” and the importance of “team skills” “belonging skills” “relating skills” for optimal mental, emotional, behavioral health for the individual, and wants to make it a focus of his/her therapy and teach these principles to a broad audience (speaking, videos, online classes).
A scientist/researcher (Ph.D. level in any discipline related to “human nature science”), involved in research related to our “team/cooperative nature,” who wants to be part of a consilient team for translating this research for application in most any human being’s daily life
A teacher/educator who wants to Educate the Culture about the principles of our “team/cooperative nature” — could be a teacher to the culture in the broadest sense or a teacher/educator in one or more niche areas.
A publishing professional who sees the success potential of WHO’S ON YOUR TEAM? and the potential for spin-off projects.