There are several things going through my head, but I’m not sure which to share today, so I’ll just start typing and see where it takes me. I only have 25 minutes, as I take my brain from fun mode to absorb mode. According to my “How to Learn” course on Coursera, it’s good to shift your brain between doing things that are familiar or creative, mixed with boring periods of learning new things. This works out well for my blog-study time :)
One topic that fascinates me is psychology. Obviously it interests many people since we love learning about ourselves and as a result it is a popular major in college. I’d love to be a research psychologist — but I digress. One topic I really enjoy is learning about introversion. I’m currently listening to the book Quiet by Susan Cain and to summarize: it’s amazing.
Apparently, people online and even friends of mine are surprised or don’t believe me when I say I’m an introvert. I’m actually a tad offended by CLOSER friends that don’t pick up on this, but then I remember that society as a whole has a wrong, often negative, view on this personality type. Without diverting into the history of why I have developed a personal grudge against Segmund Freud (jerk!), it would seem the 20th Century was the century that turned against introverts. Most of us have been taught to be an introvert, you need correction. You are shy, you have social anxiety, you don’t smile enough, you aren’t a people-person, a hermit. You seem cold. Blah blah blah.
Truth be told, there are many flavors of introverts, and to be an introvert in a world full of extroverts for me is a badge of honor.
If you’ve been through therapy (family, marriage, personal) you may have been asked to take a somewhat long quiz called the Meyers-Briggs, and in it you receive 4 letters to summarize who you are. I’m an INTP.
In one of my favorite sections of Quiet (and there are many) was when Cain cites how Steve Wozniak worked on the original Apple computer. He met with his computer club, he did his work at Hewlett-Packard, but at the end of the day he felt most productive and successful alone in his garage. That is when his mind could truly focus on the project at hand and be creative. What made me geek out about this is you’ll often find me working at the dead of night, when the world is asleep. This is when I feel most inspired working graphic design or hyperfocused and efficient on converting a site from design to code. This is also my favorite time to do other things like term papers… but it all comes down to the ability to focus without the rest of the world overstimulating me with the environment. It isn’t because I’m simply a “nightowl” or an insomniac, it’s just the time of the day when my mind finally has the freedom to relax and be creative again. I really stress and spin wheels during the day when I’m trying to work if too much is happening. I notice this now in class, how irritated in Chemistry Lab I feel towards the end of class when everyone’s talking and I have a hard time focusing on my calculations.. why I often work in silence… OR if I’m trying to remember something, I’ve learned to come back to it later and it usually hits me after my brain has had time to process on its own.
This is also why I enjoy conversations and the internet medium versus face-to-face. Aside from preferring small groups (or preferably, solo work), handling someone in person also means being on my toes. When I can compose a message, a reply, etc. I have time to explore my thoughts, pause and think. It also means having conversations with me results in some seemingly random references. That’s right, somewhere that is rooted in relation to something that was said, deep inside the vaults of long-term memory.
So why do people mistake me as not an introvert?
Probably because I am an outgoing introvert. I’ve often described myself as “shy” and an observer, until you get to know me and find I’m annoying and may not shut up! ;) However, those conversations typically have meaning to them, otherwise I’d rather sit in silence. I have to be familiar with someone or not guarding my energy and I’ll be myself. That means I enjoy company of close friends, and going places or spending time with them, and I enjoy conversations with friends more comfortably than chit-chat with strangers. It also means you probably know me best through the internet and on the internet my boundaries aren’t as restrictive.
There was a guy that implied the internet is dangerous for introverts because it might make them more introverted – this could not be further from the truth. Honestly, he’s likely an extrovert for saying so. Why? Because the internet would make an extrovert feel like they’re lacking the interaction THEY need to feel good (person-person). That’s why they feel better meeting for coffee or “getting out for some fresh air”. Introverts, for the most part, made the internet what it is today because they could work together, separately. Marcel Proust described reading as a “miracle of communication in the midst of solitude” and that is precisely what the internet offers.
But even on the internet, a, “Hey what’s up?” is going to catch little to no traction from me. I really do prefer conversations that are straight to the point whether it is information or inquiry — because that is exactly what I’m going to do :P
Sadly, I’m out of time. I could go on and on… till next time :)
Today’s Photo Collage was brought to you by Andy & Ashley’s wedding
Andy and I have been friends since 2001, and it is thanks to that friendship I’ve had the great friendships I have to color my life as an adult. It was a seemingly long drive to make, but it was completely worth it. The venue was beautiful and it was a chance to see and catch up with people I don’t get to see often anymore! And to be mentioned in the ceremony caught me off guard, but is a major compliment!
I wish Andy and Ashley the very best!