Years ago, I remember hearing about some graffiti which had apparently been added to one of those Bible verse posters you often see outside churches.
This one had proclaimed ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’, under which some wag had penned ‘If that’s OK with you’.
In Susan Cain’s excellent book ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’, she suggests that although many of life’s great scientific and creative achievements have been the fruits of the labours of introverts, our education system and business organisations seem obsessed with the idea that Team Work is the only way.
During my career, I’ve sat in countless so-called ‘brain storming’ (now apparently a politically-incorrect term) sessions, yet the overwhelming majority of my ideas come when I work alone.
Research suggests that I’m not an outlying case: people tend to be more creative when they’re on their own than they do as part of a group.
Since personality tests generally show me as somewhat on the Quiet side of the extraversion-introversion spectrum, it’s maybe not surprising that I need generally to shut myself away to work (or to sit in a coffee shop, where you can be alone, but not alone, as it were).
Email exchanges with Moodnudges readers suggest that there may be a substantial number of us with this sort of temperament.
Perhaps there’s a link between introversion and the propensity to suffer from low mood?
However, there’s a bit of a paradox here, isn’t there?
Seeing solitude as not altogether unpleasant may result in us believing that we don’t need others.
But we do.
It’s why it can be good, now and then, to seek out opportunities to be part of gatherings of others, perhaps those which won’t demand too much of you.
Go to a free talk, and sit in the audience simply to listen.
See a movie or sporting event.
Attend a religious service, if that’s your thing.
Or, of course, simply sit in a coffee shop with a book or laptop.