Isolation may be comfortable, but that's all it will give – comfort. It will not sharpen or challenge growth. It preserves a current state of being, effectively defeating any chance of improvement.
I did not know what my favorite book was until someone asked what it was. Honestly, I had never thought about what my favorite book was. I had read enough books to justify having at least a favorite author if not a favorite genre, but it wasn't until I was asked to give my opinion and support it that I consciously thought about it.
The same can be said of any number of opinions that are in their infancy. I avoid politics because they seem complicated and ever-changing, and I resent the possibility that I may give my opinion on something that is irrelevant, old news. For the longest time, a fear of seeming silly or stupid kept me from expressing what I thought, which eventually devolved into me not exploring the facts to form my opinions, which resulted in my having no knowledge and no opinions – a difficult place to be when everyone else has both, and even more difficult to facilitate conversations in the absence of them because you effectively are out of things to talk about.
I've found that the more I go out and experience the world, the more people I talk to and interact with, the more ideas and facts that I'm exposed to – the more I grow as a person, the more I become certain of my own opinions, and the better I comprehend the world I'm in and the people around me. Looking back at how little I went outside my comfort zone in high school, it's really no wonder that I was insecure in who I was – I hadn't experienced enough of other people to really be able to know that! With nothing to compare myself against, I had no reference point for what my personality was.
We exist in a world of polarity – up and down, left and right, good and bad. Without one, you cannot have the other. They exist in contrast to each other, and it is this contrast that defines what they are. If you isolate yourself, you are attempting to make yourself absolute, which isn't possible. You exist as a contrast to everyone else that is created. You need them in order to make you who you are – not them. If you = not them, and you remove them from the equation, all you are is not. How lonely.
Iron sharpens iron – iron cannot sharpen itself; rather, the sharpening process requires friction that is created with the presence of a different object of iron. You cannot grow, adapt, and become you if there is an absence of others. It's nothing personal, it's just a fact.
There is a very good reason why the author of Proverbs is so desperate to impart to his son the importance of choosing your friends wisely. It's because they can either sharpen you or pull you down. Challenge you or enable you to stagnate. And if you don't know which category your friends fall into… chances are it isn't the good option.
This is my challenge to you: go out and explore new ideas, interact with strangers, and strike up conversations with experts. In doing so, you will facilitate growth in your opinions, challenge your thinking, and ultimately grow as a person. It seems simple and trite, but the results are well worth it.