There’s something about a good “lone-wolf” story. Eli in “The Book of Eli”, the Mariner in “Waterworld”, Rambo. They inspire the soul. They are bad to the bone, and don’t take crap from anyone. They stand up for injustice, and fight against impossible odds to victory. I love it.
It’s just…that’s not real life. There’s a reason they call it a lone wolf, and it’s not a compliment or something to aspire to. Wolves are pack animals, and a lone wolf is a wolf that does not have a pack. It was either kicked out of the pack for losing a dominance fight with the Alpha, or it broke the norms of the pack in a way that got them kicked out. A lone wolf is a vulnerable wolf. A lone wolf can be hunted rather than being a hunter.
I’ve been guilty so many times of wanting to do things on my own to prove I am independent or strong or stoic. To prove I’m a man. When I’m going through a difficult time, I think to myself, what would a strong person do? They’d suck it up, accept reality and make the best of it.
Yes, maybe…but…why would I isolate myself from others—why would I cut myself off from the very people that can help me when I’m weak?
In a wolf-pack, the weakest and oldest march in the front of the pack. The entire pack paces themselves by the pace of the slowest and weakest in the pack. I may be strong today, but if I cut myself off from others in an attempt to be “manly” or whatever, when the hard times hit, I’ll have nobody who has my back. Nobody to slow down with me and help me get through the difficulty. Nobody to take up arms and protect me when I’m vulnerable.
And it’s not just about survival. It’s also about diversity of thought. No matter how good you think you are, having other people in your life makes you better. It makes you stronger. The very thing “lone-wolf” people are cutting themselves off from (constructive feedback, arguments, deep relationships, accountability) is the very thing that will sharpen their abilities, and help them succeed at whatever they’re trying to accomplish.
You know what they say…If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.