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How Alone Time Can Lead You To Your Full Potential
Creating a system of beliefs requires alone time.
When we were kids, my cousins and I invented storylines worthy of soap operas and spent hours living in them. It was my favorite activity, I loved being part of a play pretend world. When I was by myself I went further into fiction and thought about possible outcomes and roads I could take. The possibilities were endless.
During that time, my cousins and I were able to have a good time without something to entertain us; we created those good times ourselves. Simultaneously, I didn’t need someone or something else for enjoyment, I could have it by myself. Everything was seekable, everything was a potential source of entertainment, everything was explorable.
As I lived aware of all the possibilities around me, my curiosity developed fast. I asked myself how things worked, why things happened the way they did, what I could do to change results, and more. My childhood shaped an important part of who I am today, as I still find myself asking those questions.
The External Distractions Cloud
With the recent proliferation of handheld connected devices, most of us have witnessed dramatic changes in how kids and adults spend their time. People no longer spend time alone; there are always external stimuli at hand. We have come to a point where, for some, being alone with their thoughts is unbearable.
I believe this is a great danger. The dependence on distracting gadgets prevents us from achieving the point of deep thinking. A thought usually leads to a more specific -deeper- one and so on, and by interrupting our chain of thought through external distractions we are preventing that from happening.
The main culprit of this phenomenon? You guessed it, I’m partly blaming social media for eradicating the silver linings of boredom. But the real responsibility lies in the way we have adopted social media as our distraction.
When we have a couple of minutes by ourselves we immediately reach for our phones, and when we are waiting in line we are mindlessly scrolling through our feeds. I’m a victim of this phenomenon so I know this is done in an automated way, it is a habit we have deeply engraved in our heads, and changing it requires conscious thinking.
I’m aware that mobile phones and social media are great sources of entertainment and both have several benefits, but there is one big disadvantage: they eradicated the silver linings of boredom.
I’m left wondering: How do kids and teens develop their curiosity nowadays? How can they, when they don’t spend time by themselves with no distractions? When every answer is at the tap of their fingers, they inevitably become comfortable with not asking, not doing research, not looking for answers. The adults of the future will have a hard time developing curiosity and creativity because throughout their life they wouldn’t have had alone time with any external stimuli.
If people keep up this path of avoiding alone time, curiosity and creativity will become rarer and rarer. We won’t ponder about the questions in our mind and therefore we won’t find the time to search for answers. This would mean that the amount of knowledge we manage would decrease.
It’s so easy to get algorithmic answers from Google now, there’s almost no point in trying to come up with answers ourselves.
The Potential Of Solitude
I have always enjoyed spending time by myself. It’s in those moments when I dedicate my focus to my interests, or when I research the possibilities of something that has been on my mind. Alone time gives me time to reflect, to plan changes, to make changes, to improve. As I’m often caught up in daily tasks, I don’t have moments to process what’s going on in my life. It is during those minutes I spend by myself that I analyze where I’m at and where I want to go.
We need time alone to find sources of personal enrichment, which leads us to self-development. With no alone time, curiosity is rarely fulfilled and creativity isn’t put into practice. We don’t ponder the questions in our minds and we don’t find the time to search for answers. Having alone time is needed in order to develop curiosity and creativity. Two elements full of potential.
Developing Our System Of Beliefs
Solitude is a powerful thing as it contains infinite possibilities.
While surrounded by a busy world I encounter a large number of topics or ideas I want to deepen, so I write them down. Almost every day, I try to spend at least an hour by myself during which I take these notes out, do some research and think about their contents, what they mean and what improvements I can make in my life through them. Then, I make changes.
This is only possible because the time spent by myself leads me to curiosity. Therefore, my alone-time has a big personal value. It has a lot of potential because it is the time I spend discovering and developing lines of thought, which end up creating my own system of beliefs: the way I face the world and its events.
Only by spending time alone do we work towards defining our unique system of beliefs; and one of the harms of having no alone time is that individuals no longer have one. We become malleable to whatever we are influenced to believe.
“Anyone who’s really interested in anything spends time alone”, said American writer Curtis Sittenfeld. The time we spend by ourselves should be used to explore, to enhance our curiosity and creativity. Surrounding ourselves with stimuli with no substance will lead us to thoughts with no substance. Self-development is only possible if we find time for it, therefore, for ourselves.