A budding anthropologist, who was completing her doctoral thesis while on location in Spain, proposed a game to some children in a small village.
She placed a basket of enticing- looking sweets near a tree early one morning.
That afternoon, after all the children were aware of the basket - and all of them wanted one of the treats - the researcher told them that whoever got to the tree first could have all the goodies in the basket.
She did not lay out any rules or requirements, nor did she encourage the children to pursue the basket with any guidance at all on her part. Seated nearby, she simply held her notebook in her lap and waited, expecting to observe various approaches and plans from the different children, all trying to obtain the basket for themselves.
When she gave the signal to go, all the children gathered together in a huddle and talked in quiet tones with some interjected giggles, then held each other’s hands and ran to the tree together and worked as a group to pull down the basket.
As promised, the anthropologist let the children enjoy the whole basket of treats, but simultaneously asked them why they’d decided to run together as a group and split the treats amongst themselves. One tall child looked at her and, with genuine confusion on his face, asked:
“How can any of us be happy by taking something away from another person?”
“It is only by winning as one that we all win,” the child proclaimed.