Written by Katy Goshtasbi
Posted on: February 3, 2020
As featured at thriveglobal.com: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/why-being-lost-is-so-good-for-you/
I was having drinks with a colleague of mine who always makes me think and get creative. I was explaining to him why, as a behavioral expert and researcher, I’m seeing a trend these days with people feeling isolated. This led us to a conversation about being lost. Let’s discuss why being lost is so good for you.
More and more clients who are employees tell me that they feel “isolated” at work. Even with all the technology and access to others around the globe, they feel lonely at work- that’s even if they work in the actual office with other people around them daily.
This trend isn’t just about professionals and employees. It reflects an issue in society.
I was recently interviewed by Expertflyer with respect to a trend they are seeing. According to their research, aisle seating was preferred by 57% of flyers in 2013 vs. 48% in 2019, which indicates that preference for the window seat has overtaken the aisle.
I gave them my expert opinion that this trend in airline seating preferences naturally makes sense given more and more people feel isolated and want to “hide” in the window seat, as a natural response to their lives.
This response doesn’t bode well for humans and society. If everyone is hiding and thus, feeling more and more isolated, then we are essentially taking away the future of human interaction and limiting emotions and feeling and ultimately, community. If you know me, I’m not one for drama, but doesn’t this just make sense? I don’t even need you to be a researcher to see the problem.
Solution: Get Lost!
So, what’s the solution? While being isolated is akin to the idea of being lost, it’s not exactly being lost. What’s the difference?
Being lost, as my colleague and I discussed, by definition means that you have an endpoint, destination, goal to which you are directing your attention and aim. You just aren’t hitting that endpoint, destination or goal yet, which is why you are lost.
Every one of us is lost as we search for meaning in our lives- personally and professionally. I know I’m lost. I’m just excited to be lost. I’m excited with anticipation that I am on the right path and will find my next steps. I’m excited to uncover new experiences.
If you look at it this way, being lost is a good thing because you have focus and intention and drive. You are in control of your life.
Contrast this notion with being isolated where you have sequestered yourself from the world. Or contrast being lost with just meandering or wandering around. In either case, you have no focus or ambition or drive or destination. You are not in control. You are likely scattered. Being scattered in life does not allow us to set goals, resonate with others around us or fulfill or purpose in the world.
What does this mean for you? Stop and Consider:
- How often do you think of being “lost” as a bad thing? Why?
- How can you reframe the idea of being “lost” to benefit you so you grow and evolve?
- If you find you are meandering and/or isolated, perhaps consider how much technology plays a part. What can you do to change this for yourself if you want to be happier in life?