“The best thinking has been done in solitude.” – Thomas Edison
When was the last time you were alone?Advertising
Not alone by today’s standards (Facebook and Twitter within arms reach, friends constantly buzzing your phone), but truly by yourself, with no outside influences providing data or information to your brain. Can you think of that time? If you’re like most people, it might take you more than a few seconds. The speed of life at which the world lives today doesn’t leave much time to stop and smell the flowers, let alone leave time for yourself.
Society seems to have placed a negative stigma on being alone. When you see someone alone in public, eating a meal by themselves or simply walking around the block, what are your first impressions of them? Why are they by themselves? you might wonder. Without seeing social proof that they are not a complete weirdo, it is easy for people who are alone to make us uneasy. The issue here is that society often creates an inaccurate perception that “loneliness” and “solitude” are synonymous.Advertising
Solitude is the ultimate environment for clear thinking. Without any distractions, you allow yourself to think exactly how you want to think, without any outside influence. American entrepreneur and classic rags-to-riches example Jim Rohn once said that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This insight reminds us how much influence other people really have over us, whether we realize it or not. With this much influence on us from others, how do we think for ourselves? How can we form opinions on topics that are truly our own? The answer can become clear with just a short amount of solitude.
Being in solitude is one of the best ways to improve yourself both mentally and emotionally. Clearing your head with just minutes of meditation per day has been scientifically proven to relieve stress, improve focus and memory, enhance creativity, etc. Blocking out time for yourself daily also allows you to develop your own interests. Have you ever wanted to be able to shred on the guitar, bench press 400 pounds, or become an award-winning chef? By taking just a small chunk of time out of your day (Earl Nightingale, personal development pioneer and radio personality, claims one hour of study per day for three years will put you at the top of your field ) to learn skills that you truly want, will keep you from thinking What if? later on in life.Advertising
In order to keep your life in the direction you want it to go, it is necessary to take some time and reflect every once in a while. Life goes fast; that is no surprise to anyone. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day whirlwind of activities. The second you put yourself on autopilot, and then look up, it’s five years later. Set up a monthly-or-so schedule. Ask yourself, “What have I accomplished in the past month? What did I do well at and what would I like to improve? What would I like to accomplish in the next month? Am I setting myself up for success by surrounding myself with the best possible people?” When you set up checkpoints like this for yourself, you can help ensure that you keep yourself focused and your life on track.
I’m not asking you to pull a Henry David Thoreau and move into to a 10 x 15 cabin in the woods by yourself. Discovering yourself and gaining self-reliance does not require such extreme measures. But if you want to become a greater person and find out what you really want out of life, I highly recommend spending some time in solitude. You will not be disappointed.Advertising
Featured photo credit: murielle29 via flickr.com
Last Updated on September 20, 2018
10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On
Failure occurs everyday, in school, jobs, housework, and within families. It is unavoidable, irritating and causes pessimism.
While the thought of flinging your hands in the air and walking away is all too appealing, take a second to connect with the people who have been there and survived.
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. — Henry Ford
Here are 10 famous failures to success stories around the world that will inspire you to keep going and achieve greatness:
1. J.K. Rowling
During a Harvard commencement speech, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling outlined the importance and value of failure.
Why? Simply because she was once a failure too.
A few short years after her graduation from college, her worst nightmares were realized. In her words,
“I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”
Coming out of this failure stronger and more determined was the key to her success.
2. Steve Jobs
The now revolutionary Apple started off with two men in a garage. Years later we all know it as a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees.
Yet, almost unbelievably, Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he began.
The dismissal made him realize that his passion for his work exceeded the disappointment of failure. Further ventures such as NeXT and Pixar eventually led Jobs back to the CEO position at Apple. Jobs said in 2005:
“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”
Lost your job today? Keep kicking and you could be just like this guy!
3. Bill Gates
Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout. He co-owned a business called Traf-O-Data, which was a true failure.
However, skill and a passion for computer programming turned this failure into the pioneer of famous software company Microsoft, and the then 31-year-old into the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.
In his own words:
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
This isn’t to say that dropping out of Harvard will make you into a billionaire, but maybe that shiny degree isn’t worth as much as the drive and passion to succeed.
4. Albert Einstein
The word ‘Einstein’ is associated with intelligence and synonymous with genius. Yet it is a famous fact that the pioneer of the theory of general relativity, Albert Einstein himself, could not speak fluently until the age of nine. His rebellious nature led to expulsion from school, and he was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.
His earlier setbacks did not stop him from winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. After all, he believed that:
“Success is failure in progress.”
To this day, his research has influenced various aspects of life including culture, religion, art, and even late night TV.
Just because you haven’t achieved anything great yet, doesn’t mean you can’t be an Einstein yourself.
5. Abraham Lincoln
Failing in business in 1831, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1836, defeated in his run for president in 1856, Abraham Lincoln was no stranger to rejection and failure. Rather than taking these signs as a motivation for surrender, he refused to stop trying his best.
In this great man’s words:
“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”
Lincoln was elected in 1861 as the 16th President of the United States of America.
The amount of rejection you receive is not a defining factor. Success is still within your reach.
6. Michael Jordan
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
This quote by retired basketball legend Michael Jordan in a Nike advertisement speaks for itself.
It would be an easy misconception that Jordan’s basketball skills revolve around natural talent. In fact, in his earlier years, basketball coaches had trouble looking past the fact that Jordan didn’t reach the minimum height. It was years of effort, practice, and failure that made the star we know today.
7. Steven Spielberg
Regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Steven Spielberg is a familiar household name. It is surprising to realize therefore that the genius behind Jaws and E.T. had poor grades in high school, getting him rejected from the University of Southern California three times.
While he was in college, he caught the eye of executives at Universal, who signed him as a television director in 1969. This meant that he would not finish his college degree for another 33 years.
Perseverance and acceptance of failure is the key to success, after all.
“Even though I get older, what I do never gets old, and that’s what I think keeps me hungry.”
Bad grades in high school aside, there is no questioning the genius involved.
To date, Spielberg has directed 51 films and has been awarded three Oscars.
8. Walt Disney
Mickey Mouse creator Walt Disney dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt at joining the army. One of his earlier ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt due to his lack of ability to run a successful business. He was once fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.”
Yet today, The genius behind Disney studios is responsible for generations of childhood memories and dreams. From Snow White to Frozen, Disney will continue to entertain the world for generations to come.
The logic behind this is simple:
“We don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
9. Vincent Van Gogh
During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh suffered mental illness, failed relationships, and committed suicide at the age of 37.
He only ever sold one painting in his life, pinning him a failure as an artist. However that did not put a damper on his enthusiasm and passion for art.
He would never know that years and years after his death he would become known as a key figure in the world of post-impressionism, and ultimately, one of the greatest artist that ever lived.
He would never know that he became a hot topic in art classes and his image was going to be used in TV, books and other forms of popular culture.
In the words of this great, but tragic man:
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
10. Stephen King
As a paranoid, troubled child, tormented by nightmares and raised in poverty, it is no surprise that Stephen King grew up to the title: “Master of Horror”.
An addiction to drugs and alcohol were his mechanisms to cope with the unhappiness he felt with his life. The frustration he felt towards multiple rejections by publishers in combination with illicit substances caused him to mentally contemplate violence towards his own children.
These intense emotions were those that he focused onto his writing. And that’s why he said:
“We make up horros to help us cope with the real ones.”
Writing became his new coping mechanism, and this is how the master author we know today grew to success.
Fail more often in order to succeed
Like Albert Einstein said, failure really is just success in progress. If you’d rather not to fail, you will probably never succeed.
Success comes from moments of frustrations when you’ll be most uncomfortable with. But after you’ve gone through all those bitter times, you’ll become stronger and you’ll get closer to success.
Don’t be afraid to fail. In fact, start failing, and start failing often; that’s how you will succeed.
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com
|||^||Harvard Magazine: The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination|
|||^||Money Watch: Celebs who went from failures to success stories|
|||^||Biography Online: Walt Disney Biography|
|||^||Mail Online: Stephen King’s Real Horror Story: How the novelist’s addiction to drink and drugs nearly killed him|