Every New Year is an opportunity to renew our sense of purpose. For us, that means thinking about how we can become more compassionate, discerning, imaginative, integrated and courageous in practicing Cooperative Wisdom. After a little brainstorming, we came up with the following resolutions.
This list is not a template. Our resolutions our uniquely our own. Our hope is that they will serve as a prompt should you find yourself making resolutions of your own. In 2018, each of us should ask ourselves, what can I do to strengthen cooperation in my family, school, neighborhood, workplace, church, community and country?
Wake up every day determined to advance the cause of cooperation in some way.
Seek out opportunities, large and small, to cultivate a cooperative spirit in yourself and others.
Pay special attention to local opportunities for cooperation. Local issues may be easier to grasp, and local expertise may be more accessible. Send an email to someone in your community whose cooperative efforts are tangential to yours. Suggest that you meet to talk about
the your overlapping in your concerns.
Borrow cooperative strategies that have worked for other people in other places. You don’t need to come up with a new solution to every problem. Pay attention to cooperative systems that are working. Learn from them. Replicate them when possible.
Work from your strengths. Think about what you know better than others. How can you use that expertise to strengthen cooperation?
Deepen your understanding of vulnerability by listening to the vulnerable. Don’t assume that you and your ideas can make things right. Encourage those most impacted by a problem to take the lead. Support their efforts.
Strengthen the community of cooperators. Encourage those who are discouraged. Put potential partners in touch with each other. Affirm the cooperative vision whenever you can.
Appreciate efforts to cooperate wherever you see them. Praise the child who helps and the adolescent who volunteers. Acknowledge contributions from colleagues, community members and strangers. Bear witness to cooperation with letters, emails, phone calls and positive posts on social media.
Take note of partners who stay with you! Express gratitude for skills and insights you wouldn’t have discovered on your own. Be especially grateful when they point out missteps or insist that you grow to take in points of view beyond your own.
Believe in the power of a free society to develop. Register what has worked in the past, yet refine and disseminate powerful new possibilities.
Don’t give up on cooperation. When you encounter obstacles, become like water and flow over and around those obstacles. Be creative and flexible about responding to changed circumstances. Wear down resistance from other people with persistence, respect and attention to their concerns.
Be in touch. We want to hear from you about how cooperation is creating benefits–or running into road blocks–in your life in the coming year.
Don Scherer and Carolyn Jabs