One of the most persistent assumptions about business is that you can only prosper with a strong sense of competitiveness. Other companies in the same industry are viewed as the enemy to be beaten, outmaneuvered, or destroyed. When we look closely at natural systems, however, we find a different story.

This is Fritjof Capra has put it: “Detailed study of ecosystems over the past decades has shown quite clearly that most relationships between living organisms are essentially cooperative ones, (my emphasis) characterized by coexistence and interdependence, and symbiotic in various degrees. Although there is competition, it usually takes place within a wider context of cooperation, so that the larger system is kept in balance.”

If natural systems do hold lessons about developing our own resilience, then we have to take a new look at the role competition and cooperation play in human systems (politics, business, etc.)