How can a man feel alone when he’s in a city of millions?
As our cities grow our meaningful connections lose their meaning and their purpose. We have friends, but they aren’t the same as the companions we once fought with side-by-side defending our cities and towns and tribes from other men who wished to do us, and them, harm.
We’re not bred to live in tribes of millions. We’re not meant to have 50 friends, especially not 100 or 1,000. As our tribe extends, our connections break, and so we have cities filled with humans who feel no connection, who feel alone and lonely and unaware of their purpose and what they’re put here for.
There was a time when a man’s purpose was clearly defined. He was to defend his tribe, hunt for his people, feed them and protect them. He was one of a handful of warriors. From the time of his birth this was understood. Today we have the freedom to be whatever we wish. Yet, as you learn in sales, “more options” doesn’t mean “better options”. The more we have to choose from, the more confusing and complicated our choices become.
If you feel lonely you’re not alone in this. Many, many men feel alone, as if they’re connected to nothing, serving no great purpose, wishing they had a lady, a girlfriend or a wife or kids to give them this purpose they lack. They wish they were once again a part of a team so they could feel that camaraderie they felt when they competed as an athlete.
This feeling of loneliness isn’t something you should run from and run into the arms of the next broad you meet, hoping, wishing she’s the one. This isn’t a feeling that you should attempt to fill with relationships, by constantly surrounding yourself with people so you’re never truly alone. It’s not a void you should fill with noise, with instant messaging, with an artificial companion.
This feeling of loneliness is something you should embrace and conquer.
The Beauty of Solitude
Solitude is something most people run from. They run from it by turning on music first thing in the morning so they’re not forced to face their own thoughts, afraid as to where they may lead. They run from it by constantly checking their Facebook account or their phones for messages from other humans. They run from solitude by posting and picture-taking, by calling and visiting, yet this never truly fills the void because in this quest to avoid feeling alone they fill it not with substance, but with things that only contribute to their loneliness.
If you rely on companionship to make you feel as though you’re not alone and a part of something, you’ll always rely on said companionship. You aren’t self-reliant, but rely on something other than yourself to be happy, to feel as though you’re connected.
If you rely on noise or on messaging or Facebooking, posting about your life so others can see that you aren’t alone at all or looking at the wonderful lives others are living to feed this self-pity, you’re no longer self-reliant, but dependent on something else to sustain you.
Some may see this as a necessary means to help you limp along through life, to sustain you, but it’s something worse. By not allowing the void – or the wound – to fully be exposed, you’re not giving it the opportunity it needs to heal. You’re keeping it covered up, not allowing oxygen to scab it and start the healing process.
You need to open this wound. You need to expose it.
What’s completely missed in this quest to feel as though we’re a part of something, to feel connected, is the value of solitude, and not only that, the greater value in solitude vs the value of companionship and connection when it pertains to creating something and becoming something.
Solitude shouldn’t merely be embraced, but used and forced upon one’s Self. It’s within solitude that we craft our purpose. It’s within solitude that we find clarity, a vision. It’s within solitude that our excuses, our reasons for not working or hustling or using our time to the best it can be used gain no validity, where they’re exposed for what they are, meaningless and useless.
Great men have always found the benefits of solitude, of being alone. It’s where they’re able to focus and create.
When you’re alone, your time is completely yours. Sure, it’s selfish, but it is, so make the best of it. With your time being yours it must be used to make you better, to experience, to grow, and to live. When you’re alone your choices become much clearer as to where and what you give your time to.
Are you wasting it or are you using it to become better, to improve? When you’re alone wasting of your time is easier to define, as is using it with purpose.
Your comfort in being alone won’t come unless you’re doing something while you’re alone. It’s those who are constantly working or reading or living that don’t have time to pay attention to this feeling nagging at them. It can’t be there if their mind doesn’t go their.
Don’t flee from solitude. Don’t search for something to fill the void in your life. Take to it. Make it your own. Use it.
If you want to be truly happy your happiness and meaning can’t be completely dependent on other people or things. Sure, your wife and your kids will make you happy, but this happiness has to be able to thrive and live with or without them.
Self-reliance isn’t only a matter of being able to take care of yourself, it’s about being strong and confident and happy on your own. It’s when you’re strong on your own that you can be strong for others. It’s when you’re able to be happy and purposeful on your own that you’re able to be truly happy when you’re with others, and this is the mark of a leader.
A leader can’t be dependent on the group for happiness nor meaning. He can get both from the group, for sure, but when they aren’t with him he needs to be on this continual path to greatness, to becoming better, to reaching his potential, regardless of their involvement.
[Tweet “A leader doesn’t flee from solitude, he uses it.”]
Finding a Purpose
It’s easy to feel alone when you don’t know what to do with yourself. This idea that all of us are acutely aware of our purpose and you’re the only one who has no clue what he’s doing here is nonsense. For one, we all have a purpose, yourself included, and if we don’t know of one we can manufacture it.
If you don’t have something you’re training for, if you don’t have a company you’re building, a clear mission you’re aiming to fulfill, your mission is simply to become better, to explore, to find that mission by trying anything and everything and discovering what you like and what you want.
Your mission is improvement, and there’s not a moment that can be wasted on self-pity when your life it at stake, when your future self is dependent on your current actions.
[Tweet “Your future self is dependent on your current actions. “]
You should always be chasing the man you want to become. It’s a relentless chase, not one that can withstand a day off. It needs your energy and your focus. Pity takes a lot of energy, all of your energy. Time can’t be given to those things that hold you back. It can’t be lent to things that suck your energy, make you unhappy or relegate you to mediocrity.
Your actions and inactions have consequences. What you do and don’t do is creating the man you are going to become, for good or for bad. This feeling of loneliness can be fed or it can be healed. You choose whether you feed this self-pity or whether you acknowledge its existence and make it a strength rather than a glaring weakness.
You’re worth far more than the life you’ll lead if you feed the feelings of loneliness that you’re feeding if you’re comparing your life to the lives of others or simply wasting your time by doing nothing of value, nothing that propels you to become better, nothing that makes you stronger, grittier, smarter.
Your purpose is to become the best man you can possibly become. Your purpose is to reach your true potential. If you’re improving and working, a way to serve humanity will present itself. The world needs the best you, you are required to become the best you, and solitude is a wonderful place to craft this legendary persona.
Stop the Comparison
Feeling alone and down is, in a sense, self-pity and it’s only your reality if you accept it as such and allow it to be. I do it, you’re not alone in this feeling but there is a need to call out the weakness so you can make it a strength.
Most, however, feed the self-pity rather than accepting it for what it is. We do this by comparing our lives to the lives of others. Today, it’s even easier to do so with the rise of social media. It only takes a click to enter into someone else’s world. The problem lies in comparing our lives to a world that isn’t at all real, but a fabrication, a lie. It’s merely the world they want you to see. The world you post on social media is only the world you want them to se or that I want you to see. We post images and write updates when we’re excited about something or have something to share.
This fact leads us to either intentionally or unintentionally convey an existence that is only a fraction of the truth, and as a viewer of someone else’s life on social media you’d have to be pretty darn ignorant or even willingly so, to take what’s up on Facebook or Instagram as the entire truth. I say willingly so because many of us want to think other’s are living epic, grand lives, free from the feelings of loneliness that every one of us have, but not all of us feed.
You don’t want the entire picture. You only want to see how much better other’s lives are so you can wallow in your self-pity. You don’t want to see their pain or their lack of meaning. That would take away your excuses not to stand up, man up, and live.
It’s your choice to compare. When you click you’re making the conscious effort to see how others are living. This gives you an excuse for feeling down, for pitying your situation because they clearly have it better than you. Some will take this excuse and run with it. They’ll cling to their loneliness and let its cloud hang over their life.
To remove this crutch you have to be aware of what you’re doing. You must understand that your life is your life and no part of it can be compared to the life that another human with their different choices and circumstances.
If you want to remove this feeling of loneliness, choose to stop feeding it by comparing your life to the lives of others. Get off of social media. When you talk to someone, be happy that their life is going well and be aware and document how great your life is as well.
A Simple, Difficult Decision
The solution to the feeling of loneliness is simple, but not easy.
First, you have to claim it as yours and not dependent on other things or other people. Then you have to stop comparing your life to the lives that others lead or portray. Be happy for them, don’t ever envy them. From there you have to understand that your purpose is to experience and to create, it’s to become better and to aim to reach your true potential.
At the base of all of this is the understanding that your future self is dependent on and created by what you do in the present.
This sadness and self-pity will only lead to more in the future. So, work. Create. Live and learn.
Work on becoming a stronger individual regardless of relationships. Enjoy your friends, but don’t depend on them. In freeing them from this dependence you’re also going to enjoy them more and put less pressure on them to fill your void.
One of my teachers once told me that marriage isn’t two halves making a whole. A good marriage is two complete individuals embarking on a life together.
That’s how life should be. You should be improving, not looking outward for other things to improve you.
Bring people into your life. You don’t always have to be alone, but understand the value in solitude, know that it can be a source of strength and creation, a place where you improve. See other people as the beautiful humans they are, but don’t see them as a piece to a broken puzzle. You control your life and where you end up and how happy you are, others can help bring in a different kind of happiness, they can be a great source of joy and meaning, but an alpha male and a leader also finds meaning in his suffering, he discovers his path and he makes his weaknesses his strengths.
Embrace solitude as many great men before you have. Use it to become stronger. If you’re alone at this point in your life, use this time to become great. There’s an opportunity here and it’s up to you to seize it and use it. Don’t let it slip through your fingers.