There’s no ‘I’ in team, but there are 5 in Individual Brilliance – By @sammcollinss

By Sam Collins


There’s no ‘I’ in team, but there are 5 in Individual Brilliance


I was always right.


Right not to listen in school. Right to always answer back and always right to make everything a joke if I could. I was right to ignore the advice of people that had more experience and superior advanced knowledge than I.


I was right to think I could take on the world all by myself, and win. 


Trusting your gut is an essential part of confidently making your way through the world. To an extent…


I made a lot of mistakes growing up, but none greater than my failure to correct an inability to take advice and criticism from others. 


As I mature(d) out of adolescence, I cast aside layers of an arrogant self aggrandising nature as life threw me to and fro. As I did so, I began to value the opinions of others with an exponentially increasing seriousness. Writing this down makes me angry at my former self for what now sounds like a grotesque solipsism. But that’s a waste of time.


Kids think crazy things after all; in primary school, I thought that if I didn’t eat anything before a football tournament, I’d be lighter. Which would make me faster, giving me the upper hand against whichever poor centre back I’d be up against. I also thought, like shoes, that there was a right and left sock… Kids are crazy, man.


Throwing the past violently aside (as it should be in this instance), this new found appreciation for the perspective of others has had so many positive benefits on my life and has only been further exacerbated at school.


The way I collaborate with others has dramatically improved. I’m a much better listener. 


I used to be too concerned with the next thing I was going to say in a conversation – I would use less of my energy concentrating on what I was actually being told. I always thought what I was about to say was most deserving of my attention. 


I’m a better friend too. I used to think I had all the answers, but no one likes a smart arse. And when life threw a bunch of shit at me that I had absolutely no answers for, I had to lean on others. They taught me things about resilience and emotion that I was oblivious to. I’m so grateful for this. 


One of the most gratifying things I’ve learnt at SCA is the importance of listening. Pete Cain told us it’s the most important part of a conversation. And recently, I reaped the rewards of this; we stumbled upon a stunning line for a campaign by what felt like pure chance. I took a phrase Tommy’d said out of context. And it fitted perfectly. 


“You’re a genius!” He said, celebrating.


“No, you’re a genius!” I said. 


It was a beautiful moment and painted an opaque picture of the benefits of what we’d been taught.


A year ago I wouldn’t have heard Tommy. I would have been cuing up my next quip. What a prick. 


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