It was John Dunne who first wrote; No man is an island. Never was there a truer observation of man’s condition. No one forms beliefs, ideas, emotions, opinions in isolation. The search of self improvement is no different. We can only find our inner self through others.
One only needs to look toward other great thinkers, visionaries and philosophers to see the truth about associating with like minded people. Great men and women including Aristotle, Manet, Shakespeare, Yeats, Virginia Wolf and Einstein formed their ideas and vision by expressing their ideas and hopes with others around them. Aristotle sort out Socrates; Edouard Manet came from a bourgeoisie Parisian family but had the courage to leave his comfortable assured future, to seek out fellow artists on the Left Bank; Shakespeare left wife and family in his native rural surroundings and traveled to London to seek his true destiny; Yeats formed Ireland’s famous Abbey Theatre and gathered around him some of the 20th century’s greatest writers; Virginia Woolf the great feminist, essayist and novelist was part of the famous Bloomsbury group; Einstein did not formulate his idea of relativity whilst working in a patent office or in some university, his theory was given birth by his after-work meetings with other ‘dreamers’ in Zurich’s coffee houses.
Ideas and dreams die without being fed by discourse with your piers. It is the feedback you get from other like minded people that acts as a yardstick to your ideas and dreams. Sometimes your ideas may not always measure up but by listening to what those about you say you can begin to reformulate them into something stronger. Only the insane believe their ideas are worth anything when everyone else around them says different.
This brings us to the next point; you must associate with people with the same vision. It’s no good bouncing your ideas off people who don’t empathize with you. You must seek out those who will nurture your inner self. It can sometimes take tremendous courage to do this. You may have to forsake those from your past. You may think you have found people that can help you only to find out that this is not so. But what if you can’t find these people? Let them find you. Advertise yourself. Let others know your inner self; don’t hold back. Use whatever means you can to do this; write a blog on the internet, form a self help group and advertise meetings in your local newspaper; post notices in your local library. This does takes courage but what is the alternative? To remain unfulfilled?
Another thing to ensure is that you both give and take in these associations. Many people book themselves into a self development seminar and then sit and listen to someone else talk about improving one’s life. This is fine. But remember, that these are just pep-talks; sitting down and listening is the first step but talking and expressing your own ideas is the next and most important step. It is only when you have discussed and had feedback can you really begin take action on your thoughts.
No one can expect to develop when they remain alone. Human beings need the company of those around them to develop fully. Our ideas, dreams and aspirations are born from within us and so, also require the company of other’s. Take courage and bring them out. Of course there is always the chance of failure if you do this but one thing is certain; keeping them shut away will inevitably lead to failure. Bring your true, inner self out into the public arena; your real self will withstand the scrutiny and will almost certainly flourish when you associate with others of the same vision as yourself.