Can lone wolves survive & thrive?
Animals and people have formed groups since the beginning of time in order to increase their chances of surviving. Working together as a team, family, community, European State (!) is more powerful than trying to get the same results solo.
So are you naturally a team player or a lone wolf? Do you have a sense of dread when you have to communicate with others or do you feel energised and uplifted when with others? I was prompted into thinking about my own preference after reading a fabulous book by Jonathan Hoban “Walk with Your Wolf: Unlock Your Intuition, Confidence and Power.” All of us are subject to life’s pressures. We often get stuck inside our offices, homes or cars for long periods at a time, resulting in us losing a vital connection with ourselves and our environments Psychotherapist Hoban takes clients out of the consulting room to pound the streets and parks of London, in order to help people connect with their emotions, intuition and instincts. He uses the analogy of a wolf to represent the human spirit – on the one hand it can be wild, dangerous, dark and primitive, on the other it can be highly social, local, intelligent and instinctual.
Wolves are fascinating animals, what they lack in size or power, they make up for in collaboration and intelligence. Together a pack of wolves can take down much larger prey than say a single lion. Wolves hunt in packs, they are much more successful collectively as a team because they work together as one.
Whilst I am quite a social person, I often take the “lone wolf” status. I like my “me time.” I crave silence. I recharge when I am alone. In the animal world lone wolves are often older females, driven from the pack, perhaps by a breeding male or young adult in search of new territory. There is no doubt that leading a solitary life is a harder, more lonely existence, with a continual eye on survival.
It got me thinking about the risks of separating from the pack. At times of trauma e.g a natural disaster, a death, an attack endangering life, people gather together for safety and unite in their emotions for a reason – because there is safety in numbers.
As individuals can we survive solo? Loneliness and isolation are on the increase. Public Health England have deemed loneliness a greater health threat than obesity. Social isolation is now a national epidemic that is so damaging to our health, research has shown that it is the equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. In Japan they have a phenomena called “hikkomori” where reclusive adolescents (often male gamers) become withdrawn from society and seek extreme forms of isolation and confinement – often not venturing out of their bedrooms for months or years at a time.
So who are your tribe? Who are your people or pack? Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that we are influenced by the 5 people that we spend the most time with. So take a look at the relationships you have in your life. Are there positive, inspiring, fun people in your life (I call these people green people) or are there drainers, moaners and negative people (red people).
Maybe it’s time to review your networks and find your tribe!