Sum Greater than the Parts

When the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Explaining synergy gets a little convulated, but basically, it amounts to this: you take two parts and together, they create something that’s worth more than the combined value of the two parts. Two plus two equals five.

I learned of a practical example of this the other day. A co-worker was telling me about his son, an accomplished photographer. While he has the same raw skills with a camera many of his peers possess, he has another skill, one that by itself likely wouldn’t take him far professionally, but enhances his photography skills: he’s a trained hypnotist.

He can help people relax, not by actually hypnotizing them, but by  giving them tips and cues to bring out their natural selves. This talent has brought him high praise, including what has to be one of the top compliments a photographer can receive: “you captured their souls.”

A recent assignment for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation had him shooting pictures of a young woman with that horrible disease for the foundation’s newsletter. The stunning results brought tears to her parent’s eyes, who know they will likely lose their daughter in a few short years. They will have these treasured images to remind them of who she was, inside and out, while here on earth.

I loved hearing about that set of skills and how they combined to bring so much joy to people. It made me wonder how many people out there have two seemingly unrelated talents that together would explode into a rich and rare ability.

In college, we focus on a career path, and that’s a good thing. Goals are important, and seeing into the future helps keep us moving forward. What we don’t know at that age is everything we’re capable of, or even the ways our quirky pasttimes might bring us more glory.

Synergy can happen at any point in our life. Horrible experiences from the past may have resulted in a mindset that opens up a skill we’ve been building on for years, but have hit a roadblock in developing further. There are countless examples of how the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts in our lives.

Keep your heart and mind open to possibilities, and never forget your interests belong to you, you have a right to them, and they may just save you in the end.

Photo Credit: (Diamond and Coal) © cherylvb –

4 Replies to “Sum Greater than the Parts”

  1. How beautiful! I believe you have synergy, Belinda – as a writer, you incorporated your difficult experiences into your blogging and your posts always have vibrancy and depth.
    I love this positive topic. It was later in my life, when I decided to revive many talents I had left behind in my youth. Writing, composing and singing have brought me joy and as an artist, I feel like all these things make my life a “great big package” of expression and joy.
    I had a lot of sorrow and I’m so glad that my mindset is one of insight and learning from all the struggles I’ve gone through.
    Synergy – I like that word!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Judy, and you have made beautiful use of both the sorrow and joy in your life and bringing them to life through your music and writing. It isn’t always easy to choose to grow in painful situations, but making that choice is sometimes the only way to make sense of the pain.
      And I love the word synergy, too — and the whole concept. The idea that two good things can come together and explode into something greater than we dreamed is marvelous.

      Liked by 1 person

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