You have more in common with your dog than you think: you both have mastered one of the most essential skills for survival! And it’s not “survival of the fittest.” Turns out, the strongest, fastest, and most ferocious don’t always win! Instead, scientists have found that there’s a trait that’s an even stronger key for survival than strength itself, and it’s so simple that you can tap into it any time!!

Here’s an evolutionary-proven and simple way to find more success and joy in your own life.

Image: dog and owner looking lovingly at each other

Source: Pixabay

By peering into how species like our best friends (dogs) and great apes (that includes us) interact with each other, it’s become clear that the best trait to ensure survival comes down to a simple thing we were all told to be in kindergarten.

In cooperating with their communities and creating a safe, nurturing space for their offspring, the species who have leaned heavily on friendliness instead of aggression have been the most successful in evolution’s eye!

But could something so simple as being friendly really make that big of an impact?

To tell us how it all works, here’s Dr. Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, authors of Survival of the Friendliest and the New York Times bestselling book, The Genius of Dogs, in this awesome video from National Geographic.

You can learn more about this fascinating concept by checking out Brian and Vanessa’s book Survival of the Friendliest! (Check to see if your local bookstore has it available, too!)

Redefining “Success!”

If we thrive when we are friendly and cooperative with one another, what does it say about us and our future when we’re constantly at war with one another to see who’s stronger?

For so long, “survival of the fittest” has been synonymous with who can be the strongest, toughest, and most aggressive. Certainly, we all have that part of ourselves, but we also have to ask, in moments where we want to react with hostility, does that mentality actually help us at this point in our lives and society?

Perhaps it’s time that we start to think of “survival of the fittest” with a new meaning, and lean on our instincts of cooperation, community, and kindness, instead. Look around and you’re sure to find evidence of “survival of the friendliest” everywhere!

As we’ve just seen in the video, it’s these instincts that have really gotten us so far.

Being friendly has been shown to have benefits far past just “feeling nice”—it’s the key to our species’ ability to thrive and expand into almost every nook and cranny of this little planet! If we were to lean on this trait, how would that impact the world we live in today?

If friendliness was our go-to skill, would we see more effective ways come about to solve big problems? Could friendliness help us reverse our impact on climate change? What about forming more impactful ways to educate our children? Could relationships across borders and inside our own start to sweeten if we leaned on friendliness instead of seeming big and scary?

It’s something to think about, isn’t it?

These next stories will show you the wonder that can happen when we solve problems using this advanced built-in skill of ours!

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All we need to do to be reminded of the success of this trait every day is to count the dogs in any given neighborhood.

As always, my friend, stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

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  1. National Geographic. “Why It Actually Might Be ‘Survival of the Friendliest’ | Nat Geo Explores.” YouTube, 1 Oct. 2020, Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.