A saying says: If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go further, go together.
I remember that during my first years at university, I spent many sleepless nights, and not precisely because I was partying, but because I was wholly devoted to my studies:
- Reviewing my notes.
- Researching a topic.
- Doing some work on the PC.
- Preparing for some test or exam.
And some of those activities, I remember doing them totally alone, in the tranquility and solitude that staying up late into the night and early morning gives you.
The truth is that I have always enjoyed studying alone because it allows me to concentrate, enables me to spin ideas as finely as I want them, and, of course, allows me to go at my own pace and have the necessary freedom to play with time and with the resources of the students. That I have, without the need to ask or consult with anyone. I am referring to that type of study where one is so focused and immersed that the world disappears, where anyone who interrupts us, no matter how well-intentioned they may have, is liable to earn at least a snort, a bad look, or an inadequate response.
The problem occurs when something you do not understand appears within that state of concentration or flow. Something meant to slice your brain, and no matter how hard you try, let it go, pick it up the next day, and watch it again, you can’t figure it out. We have all had one or more situations of this style at some point in our lives; something that appears along the way and, even if we fight against it, ends up exhausting us, weakening us, knocking down our motivation, and frustrating us.
One of those challenges in my years of study at the university was, without a doubt, the dreaded integrals. It was something that had all the notes, all the guides, all the resources, all the classes, all the books, examples, and exercises; there was a point where, by myself, I could not understand. I could not solve it and go further. I was frustrated and locked into my stubbornness to not seek help, specifically not to join any study groups.
I won’t detail my reluctance to have or participate in a study group because it’s beside the point. Still, I assure you that none of them were a compelling reason.
So when I made the decision to join one of these study groups and managed to understand those mathematical calculations that embittered my existence, I felt the same emotion as when I could to see the lady and also the old woman for the first time (see image), that “Eureka” feeling of unlocking a new level of knowledge, a new level of understanding, but more importantly, discovering that I could actually do it, but I couldn’t do it alone.
From that experience, my current practice was born. I combine both techniques to pursue my personal and professional goals. I have a space for myself, my own personal reign with my own rules to advance, do, and undo at will. On the other hand, I have a space to share interests with some specific people and with some groups, things that I like and energize me, that I find interesting or curious, with very geeky or nerdy topics, others more intimate and personal; The point is that each group or community allows me to gain and offer different perspectives and to draw a common path that goes far beyond what my eyes can see, and my steps alone can reach.
A fundamental difference beyond the obvious is that when you are with a group or community, you know you are part of something much bigger than you can be or achieve. By community, I don’t mean dozens or hundreds of people; I even mean small groups of 10, 5, or 3 because the size of the community doesn’t really matter, what matters is that that community implicitly provides a network of support and company, and knowing that there are others in whom you can trust, talk, exchange ideas, with respect, with passion, with enthusiasm, and with transparency, is something that definitely recharges your batteries and expands your knowledge.
“What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Those people who can help you recharge your motivational batteries and achieve your goals are right there in front of you, and you haven’t been able to identify them, or they may think the same as you, but no one takes the first step.
Promoting and participating in a club for reading, philosophy, photography, debate, chess, cooking, technology, or any other topic that is of interest to you could be as simple and easy to implement as agreeing to meet in a cafe with some friends one day a couple of days a week and talk freely about what they are passionate about and what brings them together. The truth is, it’s simple enough. You dare?