Most of us go through life with one goal in mind. We seek to make acquaintances with people who will make a difference in our lives. We often do this through gathering at social events, churches, schools, mosques, synagogues, bars, movies, sporting events, and numerous other venues that will hopefully allow us to make contact with people who are special to us. By design, humans are social animals. There are literally hundreds of miles of open land in just about every country in the world. If you drive over this land or fly above it, you will find one striking and repetitive theme — humans tend to build their homes close together.
No matter how much space we have available to us, we tend to find ways to stay close to each other. No matter the continent, no matter the culture, no matter the era, this is what we do. If you can find an individual who chooses to live completely alone in the world, it is so rare that it confirms the reality that human beings need to live amongst each other. We are compelled from within ourselves to group together. Humans are social animals; it is our nature to be so. But why do we do this? Why are we so compelled to live in groups?
At the most basic level, we are drawn together for reproduction. Built into every human being is the need to reproduce. This need, and the means to do it, is not taught; it just is. Such a built-in need to reproduce others of one’s own kind is basic to all living things, be it a flower or a dolphin. We could survive living alone in a hut or a cave, but our species would soon die out if enough of us chose to do that. As a matter of fact, the growth and expansion of our species depends upon our ability to make relationships work.
This growth and expansion is the core reason for the existence of civilization. We build things as a matter of survival, and because it is part of our nature to express ourselves through building. We also build events into our lives as part of the expression of the energy of being. In this regard, we could build events alone. But this brings us back to a core truth about who we are as humans; the growth and expansion of our species depends upon our ability to work together.
When we closely examine the human tendency to live together, we quickly realize that all that closeness brings with it an infinite range of possible interactions. These interactions bring with them a menu of possibilities for growth, change, and evolution. Linda, a client whom I was treating for depression, once told me about a dream that she had that changed her life.
In the dream, she was a talk show host, and she saw herself interviewing two very famous politicians onstage. As she talked with them, she noticed that one of the guests kept changing into other people. One moment she was herself, but during the course of the show, she would assume the appearance of a number of famous and influential people. At first, my client tried not to pay attention to the changes, but one change caught her eye. The guest, who at one moment was Abraham Lincoln, and the next moment Babe Ruth, eventually changed into a large, life-like statue of Winnie the Pooh. In the dream, Linda stopped the interview, looked directly at the guest, and asked her why she had chosen to change her appearance in this way. The guest (as Winnie the Pooh) sat up, smiled, and explained to Linda the reason for the transition.
“I recognized that you were really enjoying the show tonight, but you weren’t really seeing why you created it in the first place.”
“What do you mean?” Linda remarked to the bear.
“This dream, this set, is your creation. You set all of this up for a reason.”
“Would you care to enlighten me as to why I set this up, Mr. Winnie the Pooh?”
The bear smirked and grinned to itself. In the blink of an eye, it changed itself into a reasonable facsimile of Oprah Winfrey.
“I think you will listen more closely if I take this form. You see, you really hate your job, but you are afraid to take the first step in doing something about it. You created this show as a way of giving yourself the answer to your dilemma.”
“I don’t get it. Sure, I do hate my boring, low-paying job at the copy desk downtown. What I would really like to do is something like this I suppose…”
“Exactly! That’s it. What you really want to do is to fully examine your menu of life possibilities, and see what you have built into it.”
“I do that all the time, and it only gets me a list of dreams and wishes, I can’t pay my bills with them.”
“And that brings me to my point. You need to understand that life is an exercise in the creation of a menu of possibilities. Everyone is given the same possibilities, but not the same choices. There are people around you who can open doors for you, Linda. All you need do is knock.”
In that moment, the Oprah dream character got up from her chair, grabbed Linda, and gave her a big hug. She smiled, kissed her on the cheek, and looked her in the eye.
“When you wake up, Linda, I want you to remember what I am about to say. People bring events into your life, if you let them. Open one of the doors that exist all around you and walk through it.”
Linda was puzzled by the dream for weeks, and sought my help in an attempt to unravel its mystery. We soon came to the realization that she was indeed unhappy with her job, and that her real goal in life was to become a talk show host. However, at age 48, with no previous experience, she felt unsure of her ability to realize that dream.
Oddly enough, we discovered that she had made a series of demo tapes demonstrating her skill as an interviewer and talk show host. We looked at the tapes together. Linda had sent the tapes in to a number of radio stations, television networks, and cable shows. None of them had bothered to write back.
I noted that she did indeed have skill as an interviewer, but something was missing. In and of itself, Linda interviewing a guest on the tape was not very compelling. Then an idea occurred to me that broke the ice and helped to solve the mystery of the dream.
“Linda, have you ever thought of sharing the stage with another person as your co-host?”
“I guess not. I always saw myself as kind of an Oprah Winfrey solo kinda gal.”
“Do you know anyone who might be interested in cutting a demo tape with you, as your co-host?”
“Now that you mention it, my friend Lysandra has been bugging me about doing something together. She likes to write and she helped me put together some of my tapes.”
“Would she help you as a co-host if you asked?”
Linda did ask her friend to help her. As luck would have it, Linda’s chemistry with Lysandra was fantastic. The new demo tapes that they created sparkled with life, energy, and humor. They sent the tapes in to the same venues, and within weeks they received a call from two cable television shows. The producers loved the chemistry between the two women. They now have a nationally syndicated talk show on cable television. Incidentally, Linda later learned that Lysandra had a large collection of Winnie the Pooh stuffed toys!
Linda learned that despite all of her hard work, the window of possibilities that she wanted to open for herself simply refused to budge. She learned that she needed to join forces with another talented person in order to open that window. Linda discovered a powerful and essential insight to achieving happiness and prosperity in this world. She discovered the principle of destiny pairing.
People do indeed bring events into our lives. Creating happy and prosperous events often requires that we expand our menu of possibilities, and seek out the skills and talents of like-minded individuals. The universe enjoys pairing us with people, or even groups, that bring out the best in us.
Simon and Garfunkel was one of the essential groups of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and one of folk rock’s most successful groups of all time. Simon and Garfunkel enjoyed success as both singers and songwriters. Their songs, “Sound of Silence”, “Mrs. Robinson”, and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” helped them to reach the peak of their success by 1970.
In the middle to late 1960s, the married couple of Sonny and Cher became household names and sex symbols for the hippie generation. Their most famous song “I Got You Babe” won them widespread fame and is still widely recognizable to this day by members of all generations due to its inclusion in a wide variety of movies and television programs. When their musical career began to fade, Sonny and Cher tried to revive their careers by a short-lived and largely unsuccessful attempt at starring in a couple of movies together. They did have a successful run at a television show together, but when their marriage failed publicly in 1974, they parted ways professionally as well. Cher went on to success as a movie star, and Sonny Bono became a Congressman from California until his untimely death in a skiing accident in 1998.
Possibly one of the most recognized comic duos since the 1970s, Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong have filled television and movie screens with acts of stupidity and excessive drug and alcohol consumption. Cheech and Chong’s first full length movie was Up In Smoke. The movie debuted in 1978, and is even recognized by today’s newer generations.
Laurel and Hardy is another one of those duos that is still a part of popular culture to this day. The duo joined forces in the 1920s and was seen together into the 1950s. They acted together in both silent and talking short films and feature-length films, including Lucky Dog, Sons of the Desert, Way Out West, and Block-Heads.
Abbott and Costello was one of the most famous duos of all time. The words “Who’s on First?” best characterize the memory of Abbott and Costello as their most famous routine, still repeated to this day on television and in films. Their careers saw them moving through the burlesque stage, to radio, and finally to television. From 1936 until their amicable split in 1957, the pair was widely known as the kings of comedy.
Famous duos have graced our world in business, art, politics, writing, and many other arenas. Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft. Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the Google Corporation. William Proctor and James Gamble founded the Proctor and Gamble Corporation. David T. Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch founded the Abercrombie and Fitch Company. If you examine the culture of our world, you will quickly find that much of what you see around you was not built by individuals, but by people working in groups.
While this may seem obvious to you at first glance, the reality is that we may live and work in groups, but we tend to think in very solitary terms.
If we really examine our thoughts, most of us will find that we tend to keep them to ourselves. We do this for varying reasons — privacy, fear, anxiety, etc. History has shown us, however, that as with most things, the creations of humans tend to flourish in groups. If we learn to share our thoughts with others, air them out, and let them be nourished and fed by outside input, something wonderful happens. We open ourselves to a menu of possibilities that, on our own, we may not have been able to conceive.
Take the example of Linda. On her own, she had been able to create a successful life, but she was not happy with it. She wanted more. Her own best efforts could only get her so far. When she added the efforts of her friend Lysandra, well, the rest is, shall we say, history. As humans, even though we live in groups, we tend to keep our thoughts and dreams to ourselves. We fear that degree of sharing with others. Occasionally, we may open up to someone very close, but even then we hold back for fear of attack. There is some need to protect ourselves from the potential intrusion and attack of others. This too is part of our existence as humans. We do attack each other; we hurt each. But as we saw with my client in the last chapter, those too are events that we bring to the table.
If we examine the idea that life is an exercise in the creation of a menu of possibilities, we soon realize that those possibilities are greatly expanded by the inclusion of like-minded individuals who bring something to the table. Everyone is given the same possibilities, but not everyone is given the same plate of choices. By adding your menu of choices to those of others, we increase the likelihood that we will receive the happy and prosperous events in life about which we dream.