On Solitude  

written on my journal – January 17, 2017 at Coffeebean

2 days ago, a good friend sent me a long but worthwhile read about Solitude and Leadership. The author talked about how solitude, though seemingly contradictory to the qualities essential to good leadership, is in fact, elemental. I would go further to say that solitude is both urgent and necessary for the follower as much as the leader. Everyone should find time for it.

Solitude allows us to grow fully into oneself and to realize one’s essence. It is in the laboratory of solitude where one formulates one’s thoughts, questions, develops one’s skills and talents, and strengthens one’s core values. Shutting the noise and external distractions that surround us allows us to be fully present with ourselves. I say this as though it were simple, but to be fully present to oneself is often a difficult task. Many people can be alone, but do not know how to be with themselves. We often look for distractions, like our phones, gadgets, social media, games, TV and such technologies prevalent in our everyday lives. (I am guilty of this!) These are all essential most especially because they connect us to the world beyond our spheres, but this becomes a problem when the very things that connect us to the world are the ones creating the disconnect to the people around us and, unconsciously, from ourselves. The paradox is, while these technologies offer distractions from our monotonous life, through solitude, we find that life becomes less humdrum.

Solitude offers us an awareness of our thoughts, which then leads us to be more deliberate and purposeful in our actions. We become thinkers, avoiding the mechanical auto-pilot mode which we are naturally accustomed to doing. We learn to question authority, systems, and rules. We develop the inner strength and character to swim against the current. Solitude allows us to reflect whether our external world is aligned with our inner one, thereby enabling us to become a powerful springboard of change.

These days, with daily current issues that picture the loss of humanity, it is not hard to be desensitized by what we see. As compassion is easily thrown to wind and the sense of moral obligation dissipating, all the more we need to relieve ourselves from the noise and current, and find solid ground once more in solitude.