As humans, we tend to look for support, comfort, companionship, a partner to share our thoughts, happiness, sorrow, memories, life. One of the fundamental function of the human body is to reproduce which involves sexual intercourse with the opposite sex. To drive this reproduction and make sure that humans actually do indulge in this energy driven process, our bodies have developed several mechanisms to drive us towards the opposite sex. I have already discussed some of these drives in my previous post: Laws of attraction: Why do you like him/her?
The ultimate form of attraction happens when the person falls in Love: Importance of Love. These drives are very strong. What happens when your natural drives (e.g. hunger) are not fulfilled? You become sad, angry, disappointed. You feel bad. Now, your instincts tell you to fulfil those drives else you shall continue feeling bad. Prolonging this state leads to depression. Not surprising, loneliness, lost love are some of the major causes of depression and suicide.
An obvious solution to fulfil this drive for companionship seems to be mutually falling in love with someone and living happily thereafter (with him/her). The reality, however, is very complex.
An interviewer once asked Atal Bihari, why he never married anyone. Atal Ji’s reply was, “I was looking for a perfect woman.” The interviewer followed, “So you never found a perfect woman?” To which Atal Ji replied with a smile, “I did find her but she too was looking for a perfect man.”
Look around you. How many of the people you know have found their love interest and are living happily in a true relationship (I underlined true because many relationships these days are just sexual arrangements and don’t last long enough, which is fine to satisfy the sexual drive but not a subject of this post).
Let’s take a detour and talk about Issac Newton. He took living a single life to the next level. Not only was he single for a good amount of time, he was living alone with minimal human contact. He hardly used to socialize with people and was confined to himself. To an average person outside, he seemed to be living a lonely, sad and miserable life. Was he lonely? Yes, he was lonely. Judging by his stories, he was so lonely that days must have gone past by without him having a single human contact! Imagine a day in your life where you haven’t spoken a single word. Now imagine a week. At first, it seems crazy and almost impossible to think about living such a life.
Now coming to the second assumption. Was he sad and miserable? It is said that most of the major discoveries Newton made were during those lonely days where he used to have minimal human contact. Now, whether he was sad and miserable, only Newton could tell for sure. Since he is not amongst us, I will make a guess based on my understanding of human behaviour. A sad and depressed person is mostly low on energy and enthusiasm. His various forms of intelligence such as the presence of mind, creativity, abstract thinking, all take a deep plunge from normal levels. A depressed person cannot discover laws of gravitation. Simply because Newton too was a human and his brain wouldn’t have performed on such extraordinary levels, had he been sad and miserable. I am not saying he was happy and cheerful all the time. But he certainly had cracked the code to being satisfied, motivated, passionate and perform at extraordinary levels, all while living a lonely, single life. How did he manage to achieve such a state of mind? After all, he too must have had the drive of being with someone he loved.
It would be naive of me to suggest that every single, lonely person can replicate what Newton managed to do while living alone. After all, he was Newton. Everyone has a different personality, different degree of drives. However, there are some factors that might help a single person or even a lonely person to live a happy and productive life compared to the ideal scenario of living happily thereafter situation. Here are those factors:
- The Purpose: Newton probably was very passionate about the problems of Physics, Astronomy, Mathematics, etc. He had a very strong purpose which greatly affected his day to day life.
Say you have a purpose. The key thing is, your purpose cannot be a long-term purpose with no day to day implications. For example, you cannot say that your purpose is to eradicate poverty and all you do for this purpose is just sit in your office every day sharing humanitarian FB posts. Your purpose should have some form of effect on your day to day life. You want to eradicate poverty. You can start by educating poor children in your area for free.
- Stop being wasteful: Many single people (especially the ones recently gone through a breakup) waste their resources in useless things to divert their sadness and depression.
They start drinking, smoking, whining to their friends, spending hours on useless websites (just a few of the examples). These wasteful habits are just a diversion from your actual sadness. After a while, you will find yourself in a more miserable situation. Do you really think Newton wasted his time complaining to his friends about his failed love life? (Newton probably hadn’t had many friends).
- Hobbies: This factor seems laughable, but seriously, find a hobby that interests you. Try practising that hobby regularly. With time, you’ll get better. As you achieve something significant, your confidence, passion, energy levels, efficiency; all these factors that affect your productivity are bound to go up. Overall, you’ll be surprised to see how a hobby can change your life.
- Try living alone for once: This is a personal advice which might backfire on some people (especially extroverts). But, if you don’t have one of your true close family members, friends living with you and money isn’t an issue, then you should actually try living alone. Living alone for a prolonged period brings some significant changes in your personality. There is a good chance, you might become smarter, intelligent version of yourself if you’re living alone for a good period of time. How did I arrive at this conclusion? Just based on Newton’s example? Actually, no. This is based on my own personal experience. Let me explain.
Imagine you’re living alone in a city where you have zero interaction with your neighbours. You have a busy Monday to Friday schedule. On some weekends, you may have some plans with your friends, colleagues. But this doesn’t happen every weekend. On some weekend, you don’t have any plans. You have two days all to yourself. At the beginning, you spend the whole of those two days on internet, movies (some useless stuff). On some weekends, you will hardly have any significant human contact. Now as this cycle continues, you start getting better at this. Here is what happens. Your mind starts finding solutions. See, our brain is very capable and powerful machine. Most of the times, we waste it on useless activities like whining about being single, playing video games, movies, tv series, unnecessary people. When you live alone, a time comes when your brain actually gets enough time for itself to think about your actual problems and come up with the solutions. Our today’s lifestyle is so jampacked that we hardly give lonely, peaceful time to ourselves. Time for us to think, contemplate. How do you think Newton came up with discoveries in fields ranging from optics, mechanics to mathematics? This is an experiment you should try once (even if you’re in a relationship, try spending a weekend just with yourself). Give enough quality and lonely time to yourself. You will be surprised to see the ideas and thoughts your brain comes up with.
There are many factors that I haven’t mentioned because those are part of individual personalities (self-satisfaction, hard-working, emotional, etc.).
Featured image credit: National Geographic.