“A woman must have money and a room of her own” – Virginia Woolf

The above is a quote from writer, Virginia Woolf. In it she passes on one of the most underrated keys to both creativity and productivity. 

We live in a culture of constant interaction. We work in open plan offices, in teams. We have an acronym for the fear of not going to every social event. People feel a bit sad for you if you’re single because that must mean more time alone;

“Aw. You’ll find someone. Let me help you with your dating profiles.”

Even when we’re physically alone, we avoid accepting this. If we’re waiting for someone we get our phones out. If we’re at home, we turn on the TV to at least see and hear other people. 

We’re pack animals and that’s a great thing in many ways. The ability to work well as a team has allowed us to evolve. It’s allowed us to create huge corporations, economies. And it’s given us some great parties. 

But while we’ve learnt very readily the value in coming together as a group, we have overlooked the equally important value of isolation. 

“If you put ten people in a room and they have to choose an ice cream flavor, they’re gonna arrive at vanilla.” – Darren Aronofsky

Not that we need to up sticks and find solace in The Highlands, but, in order to think creatively, we need space and time alone. 

Alone without social media or other forms of distraction. 

It’s actually more important that you are mentally alone, than physically alone. But the physical space is generally necessary to achieve that state of mind.

Without this space for peace and clarity we can’t hear the ideas that are being sent our way. We can’t take proper stock of the dreams we have and work out how to execute them.

The full quote by Woolf continues: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

Well, you don’t just need a room of your own to write. Einstein spent large chunks of time working in solitude. How else was he going to get the freedom to really come at old scientific problems in a fresh way? 

“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind” – Albert Einstein

If you want to be successful but you aren’t quite sure how to upgrade, consider as a first step finding yourself a quiet space to work it out. 

“A little while alone in your room will prove more valuable than anything else that could ever be given you.” — Rumi