Perfection Is My Enemy

A Chrisitan mom & crafter shares what's worked for her.

Top 5 Things Every Extrovert Should Know About Introverts May 4, 2012

Filed under: Wisdom — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 11:14 am

I did not write this article, but I hope that it helps my extoverted friends to better understand me.

By: Brian Kim – October 2, 2007

First off, there are those who are reading this who might not know which camp they fall into, the extrovert or the introvert. Chances are, the majority of those reading this will know, but for those who don’t, let’s define those two terms here very broadly.

 

Extroverts tend to be those who are more energized when around other people. They are the ones who will reach for the cell phone when alone for more than a minute, the ones who love to go out every weekend, the ones who love to chit chat, mingle, and socialize.

 

Introverts tend to be those who are more energized when alone with themselves. They are the ones who have to be dragged to parties, who are the first ones ready to leave after a short period of time, and who generally enjoy solitary activities such as reading, writing, and daydreaming.

 

The qualities and characteristics of introverts are often held in a negative light in today’s world, so it’s only natural that the majority of people seem to think that there’s something wrong with them. The reason why the majority of people think that there’s something wrong with introverts is because the majority of people aren’t very knowledgeable when it comes to introverts, in terms of why they are the way they are and why they do the things they do.

 

Many people tend to hold severalpotentially damaging misconceptions about introverts, but through no fault of their own.

 

I’ve been on both sides of the extrovert/introvert fence, and I can understand why extroverts tend to view introverts in a negative light, socially speaking, so I thought it would be best to write an article dedicated to helping extroverts understand their often very misunderstood introvert counterparts.

 

My hope is this article will help solve that problem by shedding some light as to why introverts are the way they are and do the things they do, so here are 5 things every extrovert should know about introverts.

 

1. If a person is introverted, it does NOT mean they are shy or anti-social.

 

This is probably THE biggest misconception that extroverts tend to have when it comes to introverts.

 

And you can’t really blame them for having that kind of misconception.

 

Extroverts tend to have to drag introverts to parties, to convince them to go and sell them on attending social engagements. When introverts politely decline, extroverts automatically assume that something might be wrong so they always ask if everything’s all right and of course, everything is all right. It’s just a common misunderstanding. When extroverts see a pattern like this developing, they automatically assume that introverts are shy or anti-social as that can be the only logical explanation to them. What’s more, when extroverts try to engage introverts in small talk, it seems like they hit a brick wall.

 

Add to that, most extroverts see that introverts tend to be fond of engaging in solitary activities such as reading, writing, and daydreaming.

 

Well, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it must be a duck right?

 

Wrong.

 

Introverts have more brain activity in their frontal lobes and when these areas are activated through solitary activity, introverts become energized through processes such as problem solving, introspection, and complex thinking.

 

Extroverts on the other hand tend to have more activity in the back of their brain, areas that deal with processing sensory information from the external world, so they tend to search for external stimuli in the form of interacting with other people and the outside world to energize them.

 

There’s a deeper science to this that involves differences in the levels of brain chemicals such as acetylcholine and dopamine in extroverts and introverts, but I won’t get into that.

 

The bottom line is that introverts are just wired differently than extroverts. There’s nothing “wrong” with them. They just become energized through different processes depending on where the majority of their brain activity takes place.

 

Granted there are introverts who may be shy and anti-social, but that’s just a coincidence that perpetuates the myth that ALL introverts are like that.

 

You’ll find that all introverts are fine just the way they are until people begin to subtly suggest otherwise.

 

2. Introverts tend to dislike small talk.

 

If you really want to engage an introvert in conversation, skip the small talk. Introverts tend to love deep conversations on subjects that interest them. They love to debate, go past the superficial and poke around the depths in people’s minds to see what’s really going on in there. Most, if not all introverts tend to regard small talk as a waste of time, unless it’s with someone new they just met.

 

This characteristic probably contributes to another misconception that extroverts have of introverts – the misconception that all introverts are arrogant.

 

Why?

 

Because extroverts notice that introverts don’t talk that much with other people. Therefore, extroverts assume that introverts think they’re too good to talk to others, hence arrogant and that’s hardlythe case.

 

It’s just a matter of preference.

 

Extroverts thrive on small talk. Introverts abhor it.

 

There’s nothing wrong with either choice, it’s just a matter of preference.

 

This brings us to the third point.

 

3. Introverts do like to socialize – only in a different manner and less frequently than extroverts.

 

Yes, it’s true. Contrary to the majority of public opinion, introverts do like to socialize, but again, only in a different manner and less frequently than extroverts.

 

Introverts love anything that involves deep conversation. They get energized by discussing subjects that are important to them and they love see what and how other people think, to connect the dots, to dig deep, to find root causes, to use logical thinking via debate in conversation, etc.

 

And what’s more, introverts can do a lot of things extroverts are naturally good at – give great speeches, schmooze with everyone, be the life of the party, charm the socks off of total strangers – but only for a short period of time. After that, they need time for themselves which brings us to the fourth point.

 

4. Introverts need time alone to recharge.

 

Extroverts tend to think introverts have something against them as they constantly seem to refuse generous invites to social engagements. Introverts do appreciate the offers, but it’s just that they know it will take a lot of energy out of them if they pursue these social functions.

 

They need time alone like they need food and water. Give them their space. There’s nothing wrong with them. They’re not depressed and they’re not sad. They just need time alone to recharge their batteries.

 

5. Introverts are socially well adjusted.

 

Most introverts are well aware of all the social nuances, customs, and mannerisms when it comes to interacting with other people, but they simply don’t choose to socialize as much as extroverts, which makes it easy for extroverts to assume that introverts are not socially well adjusted, as they have not seen much evidence of them interacting with other people.

 

This just exacerbates previous misconceptions and gives way to labeling introverts as nerds, geeks, loners, etc.

 

It’s easy to understand why society tends to value extroverts over introverts. Human beings have lived in a tribal society so having to interact frequently with people came to be a regarded as a very good skill when it came to survival.

 

But because of this high value placed on extroversion, introverts tend to feel trapped and find themselves in a catch 22 situation.

 

Do introverts stay true to who they are and risk social alienation and isolation or do introverts conform and join the extroverted side, pretending to be somebody they’re not just to fit in?

 

This is preciselywhy I wrote this article, because if the extroverts can become more educated about introverts, introverts will be able to feel free to stay true to who they are, and that’s a good thing from society’s point of view.

 

Trying to “turn” an introverted person into an extroverted person is detrimental because it gives off a subtle suggestion that there is something wrong with them, hampering their self worth and esteem when there is absolutely nothing wrong in the first place.

 

There’s nothing wrong with introverts.

 

In fact, introverts are the leading pioneers of advancements in human civilization. Albert Einstein, Issac Newton, Charles Darwin are a few introverts that come to mind, just to name a few.

 

And for those of you not interested in science, but pop culture, you’ll be surprised to see a lot of well known names in Hollywood are introverts as well. Julia Roberts, Steven Spielberg, Christian Bale to name a few as well.

 

And for those interested in sports, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods come to mind as athletes who are introverts as well.

 

Introverts have a lot to bring to the table. They have an amazing ability to discover new thoughts, an uncanny ability to focus, to concentrate, to connect the dots, to observe and note things that most people miss, to listen extremely well and are often found having a rich and vivid imagination too.

 

The more extroverts become knowledgeable about introverts, the less tension and misunderstanding there will be among the two.

 

So if you’re an introvert reading this, send a copy of this article to all your extrovert friends so they can get a better idea of what you’re all about.

 

It’s time to finally clear the air.

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To Make a Difference June 1, 2011

Filed under: Wisdom — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 10:44 am

I am still sick, so today you get one of my favorite stories.

 

The Starfish Story

adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

 

===========================

 

I know I can’t change the whole world, but I desire to change the whole world for at least one person.

 

The Cracked Pot May 25, 2011

Filed under: Wisdom — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 4:34 pm
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Every once in a while, I receive one of those mass, forwarded e-mails that is really worth sharing. Here is one of them:

 

 

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

 

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

 

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

 

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

 

 The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

 

Author Unknown