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Great Work Comes from Solitude

  • Dan Miller
  • 2010 13 Dec
Great Work Comes from Solitude
Many people are most creative and productive when they are secluded or left alone.

A common myth in clients that I see is the belief that if they are going to do something creative, innovative or entrepreneurial, they must become the outgoing, hard driving Donald Trump kind of person. Of course, this is often very much the opposite of their natural personality style. What do you think? Is it necessary to become the aggressive extrovert in order to do something exciting, unusual and profitable?

I trust you don't really believe that. The key to success is to find your authenticity and to be true to that. Shakespeare really conveyed a basic truth when he said, "Know thyself, and to thine own self be true, then thou canst not be false with any man." If you are an introvert who shudders at the thought of being in front of people, then allow your business or career to embrace that knowledge about yourself. There is no continuum of personal style that forces a person to become more extroverted, talkative, bold and aggressive in the path to success. 

Here are some notable, quotable examples:

"Solitude is for me a fount of healing which makes my life worth living. Talking is often torment for me, and I need many days of silence to recover from the futility of words. " Carl G. Jung

"I hate crowds and making speeches. I hate facing cameras and having to answer to a crossfire of questions. Why popular fancy should seize upon me, a scientist, dealing in abstract things and happy if left alone, is a manifestation of mass psychology that is beyond me."  Albert Einstein

"We have to remember that we look for solitude in order to grow there in love for God and in love for others. We do not go into the desert to escape people but to learn how to find them:  we do not leave them in order to have nothing more to do with them, but to find out the way to do them the most good."   Thomas Merton

Silence is not just a void space. Silence is often where God is, waiting to burst forth with the possibility of a creative solution or a miraculous thought. Out of the silence comes the next chapter in a book or the opening chords of a symphony. Out of silence comes the natural breathing rhythm of restful rejuvenation and healthy optimism

Workaholics and others addicted to frenetic activity miss the life-giving power of silence.

From the Bible: 

"The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools."  Ecclesiastes 9: 17 (NIV)

Direction for Today:

What are the ways you have violated being "true to thine own self?"  How can you tap into the power of silence in your work and life?

Originally posted September 2007.

 Dan Miller is today's leading authority and personality on careers and 'Work You LoveTM'. As bestselling author of 48 Days To The Work You Love, and now No More Mondays, Dan reaches over a million people every month ia his newsletter, podcast, and blog with the best trends and opportunities in the workplace and small business. For more information, visit