“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 December 3, 2019
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
More Inspiring Lessons
- 25 Inspirational Movie Quotes About The Most Valuable Life Lessons
- Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering
- 20 Things You’ll Regret Every Time After Doing
Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com