With vs. For

I had a conversation last week which led to a realization: The distinction between the two words with and for.  Consider the subtle differences between the two prepositions.  I’m looking particularly at the way in which they are used in the context of collaboration or employment.

With: Accompanied by, moving in the same direction, in concert and in proportion to something or someone.

For: In benefit of, or employed by someone or something.  In the service of someone or something.

As an idealist (according to Myers-Briggs, as well as the dictionary definition), I have a tough time dealing with offenses against the human spirit, and an even harder time dealing with what I consider at first to be offenses against my own human spirit (dreams, goals, ambitions, passions).  So it occurred to me, that perhaps the slight shift in usage between these two words might be a telling signal.

Consider phrases that use the preposition, “for:”

  • I work a 9-5 job for Super Mega Corp.
  • I make dinner for my family.

Now, consider:

  • I work a 9-5 job with a team of bright and talented individuals.
  • I enjoy an hour of my evenings with my family, cooking dinner, eating and talking about our days.

Again, it is subtle.  But I’m discovering that there is more power, and potentially more joy to be found by behaving collaboratively, building towards an ideal goal.  It starts with the way we focus our energy, and energy focus starts with the way we formulate our ideas and thoughts.  Life becomes less about enduring hardship, and more about overcoming it.  Choose a positive thought!


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