This danger is hard to see as it takes many forms. As a small business owner, I stayed within my simple routine, talking only to the same people I knew and did little outreach to test my thinking. My isolation led to bad decisions and poor performance.
I have seen people isolate themselves from others for they did not want to be judged by sharing their disappointments or frustrations because it would only lead to personal embarrassment. The lives of these persons were a mess.
Other times I have seen a person’s ego be so large that they rejected any feedback from others so that they too operated in isolation without an ounce of self-reflection. They slowly lost their way and were no longer aligned with the needs of the company they were working for.
As humans, we all are in need of constant course correction. Our ability to focus is degraded by the myriad of distractions, responsibilities, and interests we have on a daily basis. It’s very hard to measure our daily lives’ progress against the measuring stick of even one year as we bounce through life.
At its core, words are poor partners with our behavior. Our mind controls our thoughts and words, first hoping that our behavior will take notice and follow. Just think of how many times we say that we will lose weight but never begin our diet.
Because behavior does not direct our thinking, what we think about and believe becomes critically important to our life’s outcomes. When our thinking digresses or changes direction slightly or latches on to a point of view that is essentially not correct or flawed we are doomed. People call this bad luck but I care to differ.
When we are alone we either make more poor decisions because we are trapped by what only we believe or there is never an opportunity to gain context around our situation to help us construct a better option for moving forward or we simply are not aligned with what the situation requires of us because we cannot see what is needed.
We have the ability to reduce the flaws in our thinking by simply talking to others who are not the same as we are. This is the most effective and easiest thing I have found helpful.
To set up this network as a safety net takes time and generosity. It demands us being open with our thoughts and requires us to respect the opinion of others when it differs from ours. Listening becomes the greater skill that is far above speaking or thinking at this point.
The difficult part of this is believing that whether the other person judges or does not judge you, hearing their different opinion is the key to gain the context needed to breakthrough our frustration.
Being alone never works well because we are human. Watch closely for this in your own life and immediately try to correct this. Being with people will make you both happier and reflective when you see more of who you are in others honest words giving each of us the feedback we need to nurture our ability to evolve and change as needed to lead a more fulfilling life.