“We” versus “I” — Which do you say the most?

we versus I“We” versus “I” – which you say the most may determine your success in life.

As a Keith Urban fan, I make a point of listening to interviews with him. Something caught my attention earlier this year when he was being interviewed about his duet with Miranda Lambert on their hit song, “When We Were Us.”

Urban said “Miranda used to open for us…”

Note that this megastar musician who is backed up by his own band said “us” not “me.” He considers his band as important in the equation of success as he is.

That’s class.

And it also shows a high consciousness.

“Us” and “we” consciousness is what makes the world go around in a good way.

“I” and “me” – not so much.

No successful person says “I”

Ernesto Sirolli in his September 2012 TED talk has this to say on the subject:

“Now we teach entrepreneurship to 16-year-olds in Northumberland, and we start the class by giving them the first two pages of [English business magnate Sir] Richard Branson’s autobiography.

“The task of the 16-year-olds is to underline, in the first two pages of Richard Branson’s autobiography how many times Richard uses the word “I” and how many times he uses the word “we.”

“Never the word “I,” and the word “we” 32 times. He wasn’t alone when he started.

“Nobody started a company alone. No one.”

While Mark Zuckerberg has become synonymous with Facebook, he readily acknowledges the team who surrounded him in its creation.

Just as Steve Jobs has become synonymous with Apple, the company was actually created by Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in 1976.

The “we” of the Mastermind Alliance

The concept of a “mastermind alliance” was made famous by Napoleon Hill in his classic book, Think and Grow Rich.

Hill came up with the idea after asking steel magnate Andrew Carnegie the secret of his success.

Carnegie replied that his success was due to the “sum total of the minds” of his business associates.

Carnegie was a Scottish immigrant who became the richest man in the world, yet he actually knew very little about steel – but he surrounded himself with the right people who did!

Hill defines the Mastermind as: “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony…. No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind [the master mind].”

Mastermind Groups of successful people

Successful people throughout history have belonged to mastermind groups, which provides some key to their success:

  • Walt Disney and the “Nine Old Men” brought the world Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Cinderella and many other Disney classics.
  • “The Inklings” was a group of successful writers including C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein.
  • “The Junto” was a group of twelve created by Benjamin Franklin — they established the first U.S. lending library and the University of Pennsylvania.
  • “Sunday Night Supper” was a mastermind group including Averell Harriman which guided the U.S. through the Cold War.
  • Franklin Roosevelt’s “Brain Trust” helped shape the policies of the New Deal.

And on and on. Most people who we think of as successful individuals almost always relied on the advice and counsel of a group of trusted advisers.

Why it takes a village

“Individually we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” Ryunosuke Satoro

We live in a society where people, particularly women, have had to become fiercely independent and self-sufficient in order to survive.

But the pendulum may have swung too far and that can become a mistake if we exclude the joy of community and sharing, and the magic that can happen with the synergy of creating something greater than the sum of its parts.

I live alone, and am very independent, but I’m also a member of a mastermind group to help me hold my vision and achieve my goals.

Who can you turn to for advice on what you want to achieve?

Look into Mastermind Groups. There are plenty of articles on the internet on how to start and conduct one.

And start paying attention to your language.

How often do you say “I”?

Try switching it to “we” and see what happens.

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” Vince Lombardi



Molly Larkin

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller "The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman”  and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

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