This story tells us why we should appreciate the differences to build up collective intelligence.

Alone we go faster, together we go further – African proverb

An Indian story tells us about the discovery of an elephant by six blind people.

Each of them touching only a part of the elephant described it differently depending on where they had touched the animal. So, one compared it to a wall, another said a spear, another a snake, or a tree, a fan, or a rope.

They began to argue about what they had felt by touching the elephant. The discussion became very animated because each of them wanted to be right.

A wise man passed by and heard them arguing. Then, he approached them and with a smile said: “The elephant has all the traits that you have described, because you have touched only one part of the animal.  That’s why you describe it differently.”

This story explains well that it is quite inappropriate to be sure that we are right because reality always exceeds our personal visions, our context based on a unique path and limiting beliefs.

Differences when they become obstacles take away the opportunity to broaden our consciousness and enrich collective intelligence, where 1 + 1 equals 3.

Therefore, considering an ally the one who thinks differently rather than an enemy or a rival, would not lead us to add up our different approaches but we will reach new solutions, which would exceed the individual contribution of each of us.

Once again, common sense invites us to be tolerant rather than judgmental, because to judge means to separate but, as the African proverb says, “Alone we go faster, together we go further”.

What do you think about this story?