The poet John Donne once said, “no man is an island”. In a world that seems to be more and more disconnected, this is such a powerful idea to remember. As I reflect back on the last couple decades of my life, it’s clear to me that my most cherished memories and the most memorable experiences I’ve had, have been with other people. Relationships are the thread that hold the tapestry of society and culture together. Our relationships in many ways define and shape who we are, just as we help define and shape the people we interact with.
Relationships provide us with a lens to view ourselves and our world through. In many ways, we are who we are in relation to other people. Positive relationships serve to motivate and inspire us, just as dysfunctional relationships can weigh us down and cause us great emotional pain. Relationships are both challenging and time consuming, yet vital to our sense of well-being and health.
At different times in my life I’ve spent a great deal of time in solitude. I’ve traveled to foreign countries by myself several times where I didn’t know a single soul. I’ve spent many nights alone in solitude contemplating my life and my place in the world. I’ve spent days at a time with only my guitar and my laptop as my company, writing music and getting to know myself without social distractions or the need to entertain my friends. I’ve grown a lot from these periods of isolation, but each time I’ve ultimately gained a greater appreciation for the role friends and loved ones play in my life.
Life is meant to be lived in cooperation and harmony with others. Humans thrive when they are connected to other people, family and community. There’s a powerful synergy that happens when the right people come together that I don’t think can ever be replicated in solitude. In the same way that a great band is greater collectively than its individual members, healthy relationships bring out and enhance parts of ourselves that would otherwise remain dormant or unexpressed. I’m a better and more alive person in relationships to the right people than I am when I’m alone in solitude.
There are forces at work, outside our immediate control that threaten to divide humanity. Competition for resources, class warfare, religious differences, philosophical differences and more, all seem to divide people and push them further apart. Yet, the path to greater wealth, greater health and increased well-being, to a large extent, depends on us working together and getting along.
As someone who has spent the last seven years working for myself, I see very clearly the limitations in working alone. There is only so much I can do as one person and only so far I can go by myself. That’s why a couple years ago I started reaching out to other people to create partnerships. By working with people like my producer Gary Gray and others, I’ve been able to grow both my music career and internet business in ways that simply wouldn’t have been possible as a solo entrepreneur. A few months ago I met another person who I’m now launching another business with that I would never be able to dream of doing alone.
Let’s face it, for better or worse, we need each other. I’m a big believer that in order to truly be happy, you need to be able to sit alone, in solitude, comfortable in your own skin and with your own thoughts. But once you can do that, go seek out other like-minded people. This ride we call life is a lot more fun with a few companions.
The blog of musician and thinker of deep thoughts, Aaron Davison.