Fellowship drastically improves your progress
If you want to learn a new language, there’s no substitute for actual application – for which a critical requirement is the presence of someone to interact with. As it turns out, language isn’t the only case in which fellowship does wonders for progress.
Pride and prejudice
Some times, we’re a bit too insistent on doing things on our own. Often, our pride gets in the way; we want our accomplishments and achievements to be our own, rather than share credit. Then there’s prejudice, in the form of believing you can do a better job than others. Naturally, there are also a whole host of other reasons for why people choose to go it alone, but these two to crop up fairly consistently whenever I partake in honest discussions on this subject.
What’s worth remembering is that despite the fact that you may very well be entitled to prejudice, there are enough humans on the planet to conclude that it’s well worth applying a few shades of gray. No matter how good you are, you need only take a look at the field of sports to discover that while someone may indeed reign supreme, they are inevitably replaced by someone else in the passage of time.
As for pride? Well, it’s a tremendous feeling to have accomplished something entirely on your own – except that there are extremely few cases where it can be argued that an individual is solely responsible for his or her achievement, since elements from our past will always influence and enable our future achievements – and unless you’re from Mars, there’s a fairly good chance you’ve spent some time interacting with others.
It’s all about the synergy
The key to extracting value from fellowship is finding someone with an equal – or greater – passion for your subject of choice, and the effect you’re looking for is called synergy:
“Synergy. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual.”
By finding someone whom shares your interest and your level of skill, and is willing to work with you towards common or overlapping goals, you can drastically speed up your progress at pretty much anything. One simple guideline should be observed: the parties involved should be brutally honest about their level of engagement and their expected outcome – if one has been defined. Add equal doses of communication and passion, and you have a killer recipe for achieving more, faster.
Fail to heed this advice, however, and you could quickly be faced with a bit of turmoil as people tend to get rather emotional about subjects for which they are passionate.
It really does work
But how do you start? If you don’t already have someone in mind, the web is littered with a million different forums, newsgroups and websites dedicated to every imaginable topic under the sun; all you have to do is invest time in finding the place which offers the best combined ratio of quality to quantity. In other words, you should be avoiding the wastelands of eternal newcomers and the hunting grounds of know-it-all elitists and seek a place where the atmosphere is welcoming and helpful. It’s worth a few hours of research.
Whether it really works, you ask? One word: Wikipedia.