I won't beat around the bush here. People are social creatures--even the most introverted and reclusive among us still need a basic sense of connection to others. Still, leaders have figured out that stepping away from people for a while can be vital to innovation and wellness, since it allows you to listen more acutely to your own creativity and to physically recharge.

But something else pretty amazing happens when we purposely put up some temporary barriers.

We stop taking connections for granted.

As the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. But this isn't just because you miss plain old interaction. It's because when you're stripped of someone else, you get incredible clarity about all the million and one little ways you depend on them, all the little traits and skills they make your successes possible with. You can't help but see how those elements link through your entire network as you're forced to try to replicate them. And it's natural to want what makes your life a little easier, a little sweeter, to be available to you again.

This might be satisfying and transformative enough. But selective isolation, making yourself a temporary island, gives you clarity about connections to habits and material items, too.

You realize you trust the GPS to navigate for you. For the grocery store to be next door to offer food. For the remote to be on your coffee table, or for water to be ready for you to drink and shower with. You see all of the systems people have built for different purposes.

Now, if you're really intelligent, you'll go back to your "real" world and look for ways to show some appreciation to others for what they regularly give you. And you'll try to find some ways to hone in yourself what you admire in them, and to be better about paying it all forward. That has a way of putting another strip of insulation on the bonds you have.

But you'll also get critical.

Am I missing others that could help me, too, or that I could help?


Why have I waited to grow until now?


Is this system really the "right" way?


And this is the real beauty. In questioning, you get your priorities in order. You make a conscious choice for specific changes and purposely reshape your life the way you want it.

And when your life aligns with your vision, when you can be true to your values and dreams, people don't ignore the authenticity.

They flock to it.

So next time you tell yourself you're too busy to be by yourself, away from everyone and everything, ask yourself if you're really OK with humdrum relationships and superficial self-expression. If the answer is no, schedule the time. No more excuses.