Everyone fear being alone in public places. We all use shields such as our phones, computers and books to show the world no vulnerability. The phone protects us against all evil, or at least people judging us for not hunting the world in a couple or pack.
This summer I visited Almedalen, a political week on a Swedish island crazed with people, happenings and of course rosé mixers. During this trip, I was completely alone for three days and three nights.
I saw these days as an opportunity to challenge myself by not hiding behind security blankets but being totally naked and exposed to the world. If I didn’t have anyone to talk to at a mixer I didn’t check my phone, I stood up proudly taking in the environment. And guess what? When you don’t have a shield protecting you, you actually invite people to come up to you. During the time I was alone I meet more inspiring and interesting people than I did when my fabulous friends joined me at day four.
Why are we afraid of being alone? There is a phenomenon called “The spotlight effect” that refers to the feeling that when you are alone in a social context you usually would be with someone, such as a rosé mixer, you feel that everyone is watching you and judging you. But it turns out, this is only in your own head. Think about it, did you judge the person being alone the last time you saw one? Did you even care enough to reflect on that person? Or did you even go up to that person to talk? I don’t know about you but I’m not judging and based on my own experiences of being alone, it can be kind of awesome.
So, why not try it out professionally? Today I’m one week into my new life, running my own business as a strategic planner and brand adviser, and it feels thrilling. Anything can happen, good or bad. I know I will collect a lot of experiences and meet awesome people on the road and that’s good enough for me to take the leap of the uncertain of being alone. I call my company Madness since this all feels pretty mad. I also I love people who are mad and sometimes I think I’m mad. The ad business is mad and a life without madness would be absolutely boring!