Why Spending Time Alone Helps Unlock Your Potential

We live in a social world. It’s a rare occasion in which we find ourselves to truly be alone anymore. Even when none of our friends or family members are physically near us, they’re only a text message or Skype call away. While being so connected does have its benefits, we’ve all but forgotten the importance of alone time. Sometimes it’s necessary to shut the world out and live on your own terms.

When you’re alone:

1.You get creative and productive

When you’re alone, you don’t rely on other people to entertain you or otherwise enhance your life. It’s all up to you. Not only do you not rely on others, but you also don’t hold yourself back when working on a project, and will be more likely to try new ways of accomplishing a task that you might not have tried had you been working in a group. Speaking of that…

2.You work harder

Remember in school when you were assigned to work in groups? I bet you also remember when three of the five members of your group would let the other two do all the work, right? This group mentality that “someone else will do it” doesn’t exist when you’re alone. If you don’t do the work, no one else will. And, of course, if you don’t do what you’re supposed to, you’re going to be the only one taking the blame. Not only that, but when you’re totally alone, you’re completely free from distractions and can actually focus on getting work done in the first place.

3.You branch out more

This sounds a bit counterintuitive, but hear me out. When you go places with friends, you more than likely stick with them at all times. Since you have people around to interact with, you’re more than likely not interested in meeting anyone new. But if you’re alone when you’re out and about, you might find yourself striking up conversations with anyone who piques your interest. You never know when a new connection you make could end up changing your life in some way.

4.You clear your mind

We all need time to recharge – and if you say you don’t, you’re only kidding yourself. We’re constantly inundated with busyness, whether work- or “leisure”-related, so when we actually get time to ourselves, it’s important to use it wisely. Like I said earlier, even when we’re alone, we’re still a phone call away from our loved ones. But sometimes it’s necessary to shut off our phones and just live completely in the moment for once.

5.You get to do what you want to do

I mentioned this a bit earlier, but when you’re alone, you’re completely responsible for your own entertainment and enjoyment. You aren’t relying on other people to make plans or make things happen. Not only that, but you’re also free to do what you really want to do with your life. Everyone gets to a point where they’re tired of doing what their friends are doing. And we all have guilty pleasures that our friends would find corny or cheesy. When we finally get time to ourselves, we can actually enjoy these pastimes and hobbies without criticism from the peanut gallery.

6.You learn about yourself

When you’re alone, you can truly be yourself. You might be surprised to realize that, all this time, you’ve never actually taken the time to get to know yourself. Like I said, when you’re alone, you can explore new interests without caring what others may think. You may find yourself trying out new activities that you never would have given a second thought if you were with other people, only to discover a new passion.

Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely; it means being free to discover who you really are.

This article originally appeared in lifehack.org

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