Posted On: Friday, 21 October 2022 by Rajiv Popat

Overheard someone say this on a call in a café:

Why should be depend on or work with them? As a team we’re not dependent on other teams!

Even at an individual level, the Idea of a ‘self made man’ (or woman) seems to be catching on. Men and women hold their head highs when they proudly proclaim:

I’m not dependent on anyone! I don’t like depending on others. In my entire life, I’ve not taken any favors from anyone.

Even though these statements provide a sense of accomplishment, the fallacy in the idea, lies in evolution.

A few million years ago, when we were nomads, much like elephants or monkeys, we sapiens, lived and moved in herds.


And for some reason, if you were ousted or out-casted from your tribe and the herd moved on without you, no matter how powerful you were, you would, in all certainty, be lion lunch within a day. Your chance, of surviving in the wild for more than a week, without ‘depending’ on others in the herd was minuscule at best.

Everyone understood the significance of being dependent on others in the herd, we acknowledged that dependence and we reciprocated by acting out our responsibilities and respecting the older and more powerful alphas in the group. In return for the protection they provided us, we provided them with respect, support and our protection; the interdependence loop was closed and we made it thus far in-spite of having rather weak bodies compared to any other predators in the wild.

Then came in modern media – with stories of self made men and women who don’t take favors from others and are not dependent on others. The stories gave us a dopamine spike and soon, we became echo chambers for those messages.

Dependence on each other is what fundamentally defines any relationship; be it personal or professional. I’m a programmer, you depend on me for code and in return I depend on you for my very survival and food. If we work in a team or are in a personal relationship, the dependence on each other is even higher.

If your claim to fame is that you’re ‘self made’ and that you’ve never been dependent on anyone; well, let me just say that if your ancestors in the savannahs thought like you do, you wouldn’t even have existed to have that chain of thought.

Celebrate dependence. Ask for favors. Be shameless about how dependent you are on your loved ones, your team, your company, your clients and everyone around you. And then, reciprocate. Because without interdependence, we never stood a chance. We still don’t.

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