less lonely

Flat rustic wooden head shape on rustic boards. A living vine with heart-shaped leaves runs underneath, and a magnifying glass highlights gears in the brain area.

We’ve heard it a million times: “Bad news sells.” And we’ve certainly had more than our fair share of it lately, haven’t we?

As someone who takes my own advice perhaps more than anyone, and ever keeping in mind that central theme of mine — “You always have a choice” — I went beyond simply turning off the bad news to making an active search of good news.

Would you believe that there is actually a whole news site called Good News Network?

There I read an article that not only held true to the claims of offering good news, but that introduced me to something I’ve suspected was true for some time, yet for which I had no proof.

Until now.

I encourage you to read that article for yourself. But the short version is that researchers from California and Italy teamed up to conduct a study which reveals that people with greater empathy and wisdom are less lonely.

Conversely, as you might have guessed, that means people with less empathy and wisdom are more lonely.

Well, that seems easy enough, right?

Just get more wisdom.

Get more empathy.

Be less lonely.

Phew! Glad we solved that one so quickly.

Hmmm…

The Best Advice So Far: A new international study shows that people who develop two key skills feel less lonely.

In reality, those two qualities — wisdom and empathy — are a bit hard for most people to nail down. After all, how do you measure something like wisdom? How do you gain more of it, for that matter? If it were a matter of merely reading the array of inspirational memes that endlessly scroll across our social media accounts all day and pressing the “Like” button, we’d all have wisdom to spare. None of us would ever be lonely.

Likewise, if empathy were gained simply by being around other people, or commenting on their posts, or hitting the sad emoticon button when they post that they just broke up with their boyfriend again, empathy would be the norm (and, therefore, loneliness the exception).

Alas, not so.

Here’s a quick self-check for wisdom:

1.) Do you listen as well as you speak?

2.) Are you known for being patient and tolerant?

3.) Are you comfortable with and intentional about silence and self-assessment?

4.) Have you honed the awareness skills necessary for noticing what is going on around you?

5.) Do you live as an agent of choice, not merely a victim of circumstance?

And now, for empathy:

1.) Do you listen as well as you speak? (Sound familiar?)

2.) Do you know how to ask the right kind of questions at the right time?

3.) Is it the norm for you to consider others, whether they are physically present or not (and, in fact, even if you may not know them at all)?

4.) Have you accepted with peace the fact that not everything is about you?

5.) Do you regularly practice tangible acts of kindness?

Well, at risk of being accused of shameless promotion, helping people increase empathy and wisdom are the main goals of my mentoring, speaking, this blog and both of my books.

Book Cover. Five Stars. Lemons. "Compelling" - Karen May, VP People & Development, GOOGLE

Book Cover. Five Stars. Review: "One of the most well written, well organized, smart and curiosity-inducing books I've read."

And those themes continue in new ways as I’m now in the process of writing my third book.

So it seems I’ve actually been helping people to be less lonely this whole time. Who knew?

Honestly, I did. I knew.

I knew because I’ve seen the results over and over in people’s lives for decades. As I said, I just didn’t have the science behind it until now.

Here’s some more good news. If you are feeling lonely, you really can do something about it. And as this new study shows, being less lonely isn’t reliant on having more people around (which is tough during the current extended pandemic). It’s something you can work on all by yourself. Today.

I encourage you to pick up one or both of my books. But I also understand that many people have been greatly affected by this pandemic and may not have money for extras right now. If you really want to read these books and simply can’t afford to, follow the links to the book titles above. You can get started reading a good deal of each of the two books using the download links I’ve provided there. And if you finish those and want to continue, drop me a message on my website’s contact form. Introduce yourself, let me know which book you’d like — and I will send you a full digital copy of either for free. No strings attached.

So why not start being less lonely right now?

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