SOLITUDE VERSUS ISOLATION
In today's era of relentless connectivity, the concept of solitude has become somewhat of a lost art. Many individuals nowadays tend to conflate the notion of being alone with a sense of loneliness. Isolation, on the other hand, has become an experience we've all grappled with in recent years, whether it was a conscious choice or an imposed circumstance. However, there's a profound value in appreciating the time spent in one's own company. May Sarton, a Belgian-American poet, aptly juxtaposed these two states, stating, "Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self." Meanwhile, Stephen Batchelor, a Scottish Buddhist author, defined solitude as "not isolation or alienation, though these are its shadow side. Rather, it is a way of caring for one's soul, of sheltering it from noise and agitation, of directing it toward its authentic purpose."
Solitude is a powerful and essential aspect of human experience, offering numerous benefits for personal growth and well-being. In moments of solitude, individuals can find a sanctuary away from the noise and distractions of the world, providing a fertile ground for self-reflection and introspection. It allows us to reconnect with our inner thoughts, emotions, and aspirations, fostering a deeper understanding of ourselves and our life's purpose. Solitude promotes mental clarity, enabling us to process our experiences, manage stress, and find solutions to challenges with a clear mind. Moreover, it encourages creativity, as the absence of external influences allows for the exploration of new ideas and perspectives. Ultimately, solitude serves as a source of strength, resilience, and self-renewal, contributing to our overall emotional and psychological well-being. Embracing moments of solitude can lead to a richer, more meaningful life by nurturing our connection with ourselves and fostering personal growth.
A MESSAGE FROM THE FOUNDER
During my childhood, I always had an innate fondness for spending time in my own company. Growing up near the woods, I would lose myself in daylong explorations of the outdoors or immerse myself in imaginative worlds I crafted in my mind. If I wasn't outdoors, I could be found engrossed in building intricate Lego creations for hours on end. Curiously, I never felt a sense of loneliness in these solitary pursuits. I vividly recall my parents and peers encouraging me to be more sociable, often labeling me as the "shy kid."
Looking back now, it's crystal clear that I was, in essence, a natural introvert – someone who derives energy and thrives in moments of solitude. I can confidently affirm that much of my personal growth can be directly attributed to the abundant periods of solitude I've cherished. In those solitary moments, my mind is allowed to roam freely, effortlessly leaping from one idea to the next, exploring the future, dissecting the past, and nurturing my authentic self.
Running a business and realizing ambitious visions doesn't always grant the luxury of ample solitude. Therefore, I've made it a priority to structure my days in a manner that ensures I receive this vital mental space when needed. My entire daily routine now revolves around preserving moments of solitude. Mornings are sacrosanct – devoid of social media or communication. The initial 30 minutes after waking are dedicated to creative pursuits, sometimes as simple as sipping coffee and contemplating with unbridled thoughts. This precious time allows me to commence my day as my unfiltered self, with complete mental freedom, before the demands of reality take hold.
Subsequently, I engage in what I term "shallow work" – handling emails, texts, and social media, addressing anything necessary to propel projects forward or respond to inquiries. The middle part of my day is a whirlwind of meetings, high-level problem-solving, and executive decision-making.
Then come the nights. The nights are the pinnacle of my anticipation throughout the day – that time when I return home and step into my personal studio. From 10pm to 3am, I revel in a realm of unadulterated freedom – pure silence and solitude. The world slumbers, and I am left to my own devices. My mental constraints dissolve, and my mind soars, liberated to roam and create. It is during these late hours that new ideas take form, where unrelated thoughts effortlessly merge and give birth to novel concepts – the very ideas that make our venture unique, the moments that define who I am.
Embracing and cherishing solitude is an essential element in unlocking our true potential and nurturing our distinctive abilities.
NEUROSTACK OF THE WEEK
Solitude does not necessarily mean physical isolation. There are many ways we can escape the noise and enjoy the benefits of solitude as a mindset without solitary retreats.
STILLNESS IN MOTION
SOLO WORKOUTS OR RUNSTraining or running in silence is one of the best ways to enjoy solitude. Pay attention to the sounds around you, like your feet hitting the ground, and notice the feeling of the breath.
GOAL SETTING & PERSONAL REFLECTIONSolitude opens the door for heightened self-awareness. Writing down goals and tracking our progress is the best way to move through life with intention.
WRITING, DRAWING, PHOTOGRAPHYCreative fulfillment comes differently to everyone, so find something authentic and get lost in the process.