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Want Success? Just Ask Darwin

October 8, 2010

Brian Hoffstein
Want Success? Just Ask Darwin

Charles Darwin was a straight-up boss. The dude basically rationalized our world by unearthing the theory of evolution. His sublime discovery-- given the current popularity of evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology-- explains so much of about human behavior and genetic makeup that it’s almost scary. One thing, however, continues to puzzle evolutionary theorists: the concept of altruism, or the selfless concern for the welfare of others. Under the premise of evolution, man (and lady) has one main reason for existing: survival. This quest to pass on genes to one's offspring, at all costs, may yield a selfish propensity in mankind.  Accordingly, evolutionary scholars are puzzled as to how the trait of altruism continues to persist.  In order to achieve our goal of self-survival, why would anyone need to be altruistic?

As odd as it may seem, altruism – and relationships, for that matter – bolsters our well-being and ultimate pursuit of survival.  To examine this further, let’s get hypothetical for a moment. Imagine a modern-day dude (or dudette) who spends his entire life in pursuit of maximizing his chances for surviving and ensuring that his kids have the opportunity to do the same. Ignore the fact that this may seem like an awful and inhumane way to live your life; recall that evolutionary theories dictate that this is man's natural primary goal.

In order to achieve grade-A survival, this guy needs help from his fellow humans.  Furthermore, he needs his kin to outperform the competition; surrounding himself with other survivors is beneficial for our hypothetical man. To become fit for survival, the individual needs every advantage possible. Discovery of the correlation between one’s own prosperity and that of one's kin is monumental for the individual.

This is where it gets really interesting for all of us at CMC:

We are kin. Period. One big, ridiculously awesome family. The success of every student at CMC is enhanced by the success of the other students, and ultimately by the excellent standard CMC is known for. In our common quest to thrive, we are inextricably linked.

So whether you're a Finance major dreaming about how fat your bank account is going to be one day, or an Art major swooning over owning your own studio in Venice, we all need each other. Being surrounded by a group of peers at CMC who are all working to excel in their respective fields is inspiring, encouraging, and will propel us to places too spectacular for our most ambitious dreams. As CMC’s reputation continues to improve and our alumni make their mark on the world, it enables us to live our dreams – whatever they may be.

While we all must actively pursue our own dreams, we also must help and support our fellow CMCers. By combining our various specialties into one solid support base and encouraging one another to strive for our goals, CMC and its students can excel. I am not saying we need to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but root for your classmates! Don’t judge the paths others choose to follow; instead, urge them to reach their potentials. Let's use Darwin's prescription for CMC's success.  With a healthy dose of altruism, we can become the fittest family for survival.

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