In addition to his painting, Pablo Picasso found time to dish out a bit or two of philosophy.

The great artist’s words challenge me to no end. “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” In other words, great solitude is the secret to great work.

It begs the question, “What is GREAT solitude?”

Yesterday afternoon I sat on my porch for an hour and thought about solitude. Within the first three minutes I found myself struggling. The phone rang. Thankfully I had left it in the house. But I could still hear it. Who could it be? I wonder if it is important? Should I go answer it? … my mind ran wild with possibilities. I resisted the urge to leave the quiet.

Everyday the noise grows. Solitude struggles to compete.

Here are three ways to make your solitude great. 

  • Make a decision. Unless you prioritize solitude it will not happen. Please don’t kid yourself. You are like every other leader and the demands on your time are very real. Ask yourself the question, “Is solitude really important or was Picasso just high on paint fumes? If you decide it is important then make time for it. 
  • Schedule it. It’s one thing to make a decision, but making a decision is not the same as making it onto your calendar. Pick a day, set a time, and show up.
  • Create a habit. If solitude really matters, it needs to make it onto your calendar more than once. If you want to see the benefits of solitude make a commitment to practice at least once a week for the coming 90 days. By giving solitude a chance you will position yourself for maximum results.

By the end of my hour yesterday something crazy happened. My mind started wandering. Not toward the inside and the things I was missing, but rather toward my next opportunity for solitude. I’m actually looking forward to it. 

Like any other area of my leadership, I am believing if I put time on the task of practicing solitude it will lead to more fulfillment and greater effectiveness. I challenge you to do the same.


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Author: Randy

Randy is an author, speaker, executive coach, and the CEO of InteGREAT Leadership. He invests his time encouraging leaders around the world.