25 September 2016

On Being an Introvert

If someone had asked me before reading Quiet by Susan Cain if I was an introvert or not, I would have said I was. But only because my interpretation of the word intorvert is that of a shy, quiet person who would rather be alone. I had no idea about the extensive definition and features of introversion.

"Aggressive power beats you up; soft power wins you over" - Professor Ni

After reading Quiet, I have found that I am definitely an introvert, but in a much more extensive way which will always effect the way I am happiest living my life. The book has allowed me to accept the person I am as an introvert and to try and acknowledge when my introversion is affecting my life for good or bad.

Being alone.

I will always favour being alone over others company regardless of how much I like a person or would want to spend time with them. It is in my nature to want to think alone. This time can help me to focus, concentrate, be more productive and give me breathing space from the pressures and expectations of the outside world. Being alone doesn't mean that I am lonely or there is something wrong with me, simply that I am recharging or allowing myself some time in my own head.

Small groups / one to one basis.

I like to spend time with other people but large groups in any scenario will never be my thing, if I can choose to be in a small group or on a one to one basis with people I will. I am much more suited to this because it allows me to focus on a small amount of conversation and social pressure. Also I am less stimulated because I am not trying to analyse others behaviour, respond with appropriate behaviour and keep up with a lot of conversation all at once.

Long term rewards and goals.

I like that as an introvert I will be more able to deny instant gratification and focus more easily on long term rewards and goals compared to an extrovert. This means that I am more easily able to find motivation to continue with something even when it may be easier to quit now or it doesn't give me an instant and easily seen reward.

Preferring under stimulation.

I won't like scenarios with a lot of things to have to concentrate on all at once because as an introvert I will focus on a larger amount of things than an extrovert because I have a high sensitivity. This means that when at a party or in school, for example, I will find myself focussing on trying to fit in and conform to social expectations; working out how others are behaving and what this means; responding in an appropriate manner; thinking over what I should say and over analysing so that by the time I have a good idea to contribute, the conversation has moved along.

Mental rests after busy days.

School and work are very tiring for introverts because of preferring under stimulation. This means that after a long day at either or just a day spent out with people, I will always want to come home and spend some quiet time alone. This quiet time allows me to recharge mentally and get my head round the day so that I can easily work through what happened and what I now need to do as I don't get to do this while in the company of others because my mind is so full in those situations.

Self awareness and reflection.

Being in my head so much as an introvert means that I analyse myself and others behaviour often. Although this can cause me to overthink and get into a cycle of negative thoughts, it can also be really useful for self awareness and reflection. I spend so much time in my head that almost evaluating myself daily seems normal and is a useful tool to help me work out how I want to live my life and how I can get to the point where I am living the life I want.

“...It is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were.” -  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Who here is an introvert and how does it affect your life?