Collaboration for greater Wholistic Wellbeing
I am a seeker of Wholistic Wellbeing: a lifestyle which integrates various aspects of wellbeing in an interdisciplinary way. Wholistic Wellbeing invites us to reflect on the connections and intersections between topics and areas, in ways that strengthen both them and the bonds between them. Wholistic Wellbeing is where we come to piece together the puzzle of our health; to see how our emotional state informs our financial independence; or how our social wellbeing intersects with our physical wellness.
On my journey so far, I have found that Wholistic Wellbeing is a strongly collaborative effort. I want to burst the myth that wellbeing is a solo journey. In the same way that the seven pillars of Wholistic Wellbeing don’t exist in silos, but rather in conversation with one another, our lives overall exist in confluence and convergence with those of others. We can only grow by accepting the help of others and viewing our wellbeing journeys as collective.
Collaboration is human nature, and although it may be tempting to view our wellbeing journeys as private and personal – something we have to do on our own, by ourselves and for ourselves – it would be wrong to refuse collaboration. In fact, collaboration does not take away from our achievement; if anything, it enriches and consolidates it.
We need to dispel the myth of the lonely genius; that the most groundbreaking art, the most revolutionary discoveries or the most successful leadership are down to a single person whose brilliance is peerless. The truth is that the great playwright William Shakespeare wrote and performed plays with his troupe; French physicists Pierre and Marie Curie worked in laboratories with colleagues and assistants; and all world leaders have an army of colleagues and staff at their helm, assisting them in their decisions and policymaking. Despite our culture’s propensity for deification, we need to remember that no man is an island. Though it may be tempting to glorify a single name in order to inspire people, we need to remember that progress only over occurs when we accept collaboration.
Amidst the tragedy of the pandemic, I was delighted to see medical staff around the world receive public attention and applause for their selfless – and collective – dedication to human life, even in the most trying times. To see the world congratulating teams of experts and workers (rather than individual figures) for their group work, and praising the coming together of different groups within the medical sphere (doctors and nurses, research and intensive care units), was encouraging. To me, this is a step in the right direction.
Why is it so important to value collaboration as an essential component of our wellbeing journeys? Because Wholistic Wellbeing is an intrinsically collective aspiration. Significantly, the pillars of Social, Community and Planetary Wellbeing are predicated on collaboration, communication, and trust both between humans and with other species. Even Professional Wellbeing is often a collective experience, particularly if you work in an office with colleagues. Likewise, Emotional Wellbeing is greatly aided by strong friendships and trustworthy relationships that teach us to value ourselves for exactly who we are. As for Financial Wellbeing, surrounding oneself with the right advisors and influences can be hugely beneficial. And though it may appear to be the most personal pillar, Physical Wellbeing also implies a degree of collaboration. It is most obvious when we participate in team sports or a group yoga class, but it is present nonetheless when we go for a run alone because we benchmark our performance against standards and targets set for us by society.
No matter how hard we might try to escape the influence of others in order to achieve Wholistic Wellbeing on our own terms, we are fundamentally social animals – whether we are extroverted or introverted. The best we can do is to embrace the opportunities of collaboration and choose the right ones for our personal paths.