Following from the loneliness of the long-distance runner posts and a conversation I had with a friend who runs marathons, I find another parallel in these two universes (sport & work).
At marathons, people sometimes actually talk with each other on their long journey.
At 100 metre sprints, people definitely do not talk with each other.
In my opinion, this mirrors the African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. (thanks to Richard Branson’s http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/my-top-10-quotes-on-togetherness)
How would this translate into working for an organisation as a team or working as a freelancer/sole trader? What is better for personal development? Time to yourself to reflect or time with others to use them as a mirror to look at yourself in? Such would be the suggestion by Michael Ende in his book “The Neverending Story” where heroes looked into a magic mirror which showed them their “real me”. Many of them apparently expected to see a heroic perfect specimen of a man but the mirror showed them an absolute gruesome monster and they ran away.
So, my conclusion is that life should be made up of solo sprints and treks together in order to succeed with whatever goal you may have, whether it is to have professional success or to find out who you really are.