Friday, July 04, 2014

Loneliness, Solitude, and the Power of Time With Ourselves

According to this article, a shocking proportion of people don't like being alone.  It's literally a shocking proportion, because they choose to undergo electric shocks rather than the stillness of solitude.  As one news report put it, people apparently prefer negative stimulation to boredom.

There are many benefits to time spent alone, including time for deep and creative thought and activity.  While loneliness can be a painful emotional state, there are ample historical examples of artistic, spiritual, and intellectual genius emanating from periods of solitude.  Could this be why creativity is so often linked to introversion?   Solitary work fosters deep concentration, which is essential to generating unique insight.  Extroverts can dazzle us with charisma and leadership, but it is difficult to differentiate oneself from the herd if one is of the herd.  That is why successful invention is so often a joint function of research in solitude and implementation through collaboration

Show me someone highly successful in a field and I'll show you someone who seeks alone time to engage in work in that field.  That is because being alone is not necessarily being lonely; being alone is being all-one, in one's own company.  In solitude, we have nothing but our thoughts, feelings, memories, ideas, plans, values, and interests.  Whether that is appealing or aversive speaks volumes about an individual:  active minds are rarely bored ones.

Further Reading:  Life Lessons From Great Inventors