Collaboration or Solitude

This blog is in response to Week Three of Tracking Wonder Quest2018 where Jeffrey Davis
explores how solitude and collaboration can contribute to reaching your goals.   

He has a conversation with Pam Slim and Leo Babauta.

Reflecting on my own style, I must confess that I love solitude.   

Sometimes thouhg, I burst with an idea and just have to contact a specific friend or colleagues to communicate; to test an idea for soundness, practicality, even ethics. Also to elicit their passion, if I can get them on the same wavelength (O good test for an idea).

While (as a person) I am at ease in both situations, the interview made we wonder whether I use these situations productively. 


About 4 years ago I found myself in an uncomfortable emotional space. I wanted to run away from the right things and towards the wrong things.  I was presented the opportunity to buy a small (1 hectare) plot with a 30m river front in the Groot Marico (North West Province, South Africa).  This small piece of land is situated within a 1000 ha game farm.  The owners are seldom there and often I do not engage with any other person other than a polite greeting. I am practically alone in a 1000 ha bushveld space.  There are some monkeys playing their tricks in the garden.  There are storms and beautiful moonlit nights. This is my real solitude space. I experience real fear here (South Africa is not a safe country).  Sometimes the solitude turns into loneliness. 

What do I do with my solitude?  

 In terms of working, I find it easier to integrate things here:  I summarise information into a coherent document, edit poems written on pieces of paper, plan a project or write a proposal.  There is no internet connection, which means that I need all the information right there and there is no opportunity to go on an everlasting Google Searches.  Nobody makes any direct demands on my time.  My rhythm changes – I can work for long hours without interruption.  I sometimes revert to writing with a pen rather than on the computer to feel closer to the process.  In between I walk long distances.  Once or twice a day a walk to a spot with cell signal to upload or email my work of the day and satisfy the need to know there is still a world out there.

At home in the city, all the kids have left home and I have my moments of solitude.  My husband and I can sit and work together quite amiably.  The big enemy here is my cell phone and internet connectivity.  I seem to continually want to gather more information, keep in touch with everybody (even remote acquaintances Instagram photos).

Leo’s challenge: 
I must try to have at least two hours per day of no internet connection.  I suspect the best way for me to achieve solitude in the city would be to get up earlier and do some reflecting, meditating, walking before I start the workday.  Who can I call on to help me with this habit?  For now I will just set my alarm clock. I will also have to look at a better habit for cell phone use - will have to work on that one.


I think I do collaborate – but here the conversation really had me thinking.

What does collaboration mean in my work situation?  Out work team is a diverse team living far away from each other.  Although we all have access to the internet we do not all prefer to collaborate through digital platforms. We do collaborate, but maybe not systematic enough.

Pam’s Questions: 1. What kind of collaboration is the most fulfilling for your creative growth? 2. What one project or goal this year could benefit from your pursuing that kind of collaboration? 3. What will you do on a monthly basis to pursue that kind of collaboration? 4. With whom possibly?

The collaboration I find most fulfilling is at the beginning of a project, or new dimension to an existing project: sharing of ideas and planning the basic steps to get there; another collaboration is when I feel stuck with something, especially a decision to make which have good and bad implications either way; I have tried collaboration to keep me on my milestones, but that has not been particularly successful.  

1.     The project that I think will benefit the most is to identify and develop a unique offering for our new company.

2.    On a monthly basis, either meet with all team members together, or have separate meetings (combining members where it makes sense) to discuss ideas and milestones.  Then look for a platform to share the thinking to benefit all.