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How to Use Solitude to Find Direction

Dear Friend,

When we hear the word "solitude" we often see mountain vistas, long deserted beaches, a single horse on the plain, and so on. Now if you are lucky enough to live near mountains, or the sea, or take your horse for a ride in the vast plains, that's a good thing. Most of us live in urban areas, so a long walk on the beach isn't possible on any kind of regular basis. But it is possible to find solitude right where we are. And if your day is like mine you could really use some. Life has a way of interfering with the best laid plans. I map out my day, and a one hour appointment goes two and a half hours. You drive 50 miles to an appointment and the customer doesn't show up.

Since I'm in sales, this the kind of problem I face. My truck is my place of solitude. I keep things simple. I have a few CDs, a book or two some magazines, my work file, some samples, a Twelve pack of tea, and satellite radio, which I added a short while back. The satellite radio enables me to hear uncut comedy routines, which for me is a great stress buster.

When Murphy's law is working (if it can go wrong it will), I usually retreat to the truck for a break. But when I get to the truck I do not try to fix anything immediately. Sometimes I want to hear some music, other times I'll pick up a magazine and read an article. I've listened to talk radio, sports radio, gospel music, read the newspaper, and so on. After a few minutes, I'll turn everything off and go to the "movie's."

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And since it's my movie, I can change it any way I want to. The first scene didn't work? Let's try this. Move lunch to around 1:30. Call and rearrange my 3 o'clock. I direct a new plan. And sometimes that plan may last 40 minutes. And I have to make a new plan. But the routine is always the same. Find your place. Unwind. Roll the tape. Make changes. Set a new course. Take action.

Yesterday I read something that I have known intuitively for a long time. In a study done about the decision making process, those who made decisions quickly -those who did not ponder, run multiple scenarios and who did not require vast quantities of information in order to come to a conclusion- made better decisions by a margin of 3 to 1.

Solitude doesn't really require anything special. It doesn't even require much time. You don't have to be in a "very special" place. It's just a simple way of tuning out, and then back in. But you do have to act.


Sean Furey

P.S. The great American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes once said "I find that the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as to what direction we are moving." For more life changing information go here.

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