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Why Spending Time Alone Helps Unlock Your Potential

Why Spending Time Alone Helps Unlock Your Potential

We live in a social world. It’s a rare occasion in which we find ourselves to truly be alone anymore. Even when none of our friends or family members are physically near us, they’re only a text message or Skype call away. While being so connected does have its benefits, we’ve all but forgotten the importance of alone time. Sometimes it’s necessary to shut the world out and live on your own terms.

When you’re alone:

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1.You get creative and productive

When you’re alone, you don’t rely on other people to entertain you or otherwise enhance your life. It’s all up to you. Not only do you not rely on others, but you also don’t hold yourself back when working on a project, and will be more likely to try new ways of accomplishing a task that you might not have tried had you been working in a group. Speaking of that…

2.You work harder

Remember in school when you were assigned to work in groups? I bet you also remember when three of the five members of your group would let the other two do all the work, right? This group mentality that “someone else will do it” doesn’t exist when you’re alone. If you don’t do the work, no one else will. And, of course, if you don’t do what you’re supposed to, you’re going to be the only one taking the blame. Not only that, but when you’re totally alone, you’re completely free from distractions and can actually focus on getting work done in the first place.

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3.You branch out more

This sounds a bit counterintuitive, but hear me out. When you go places with friends, you more than likely stick with them at all times. Since you have people around to interact with, you’re more than likely not interested in meeting anyone new. But if you’re alone when you’re out and about, you might find yourself striking up conversations with anyone who piques your interest. You never know when a new connection you make could end up changing your life in some way.

4.You clear your mind

We all need time to recharge – and if you say you don’t, you’re only kidding yourself. We’re constantly inundated with busyness, whether work- or “leisure”-related, so when we actually get time to ourselves, it’s important to use it wisely. Like I said earlier, even when we’re alone, we’re still a phone call away from our loved ones. But sometimes it’s necessary to shut off our phones and just live completely in the moment for once.

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5.You get to do what you want to do

I mentioned this a bit earlier, but when you’re alone, you’re completely responsible for your own entertainment and enjoyment. You aren’t relying on other people to make plans or make things happen. Not only that, but you’re also free to do what you really want to do with your life. Everyone gets to a point where they’re tired of doing what their friends are doing. And we all have guilty pleasures that our friends would find corny or cheesy. When we finally get time to ourselves, we can actually enjoy these pastimes and hobbies without criticism from the peanut gallery.

6.You learn about yourself

When you’re alone, you can truly be yourself. You might be surprised to realize that, all this time, you’ve never actually taken the time to get to know yourself. Like I said, when you’re alone, you can explore new interests without caring what others may think. You may find yourself trying out new activities that you never would have given a second thought if you were with other people, only to discover a new passion.

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Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely; it means being free to discover who you really are.

Featured photo credit: Ann Haritonenko via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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