Monday, 9 May 2016

On being an Introvert - and I only just realised it.

Back in 2000, everything seemed so clear.
And I'm embarrassed to say I think I probably was on a wrong course.

It took me to hit 44 to realise that I am an Introvert.

And that that's okay.

My struggle was trying to keep up with Extroverts.

Or worse, trying to be one myself.

But they're idiots.
Lovely, loud, impressive, entertaining, act-now-think-later, loveable idiots.

And though they'd never say it.
They need Introverts to do the deep thinking, in solitude, or on one-on-one, for them.

Which is what I do best.
So brilliantly that I'm embarrassed to say it.

Now I show up, by thinking of stuff, and writing it down.

I have no idea where it is all going, but I'm happy.
And that scares me.
It's easier fitting in and doing a job that doesn't involve that.

But I fear I've constructively dismissed myself from being employed like that ever again. So I just keep thinking up stuff and writing it down.

Last week I crossed the road with Dad outside his flat.
He lead the way, and then 20 metres along we passed the brand new zebra crossing put there. He snorted at himself, turned to me and said "Dunno why I don't use that. I don't like to! And I don't know why..."

I know exactly why.

Like me, he's an Introvert.

And he doesn't want to inconvenience other people so much, that it is easier for him to not cause someone to have to stop to allow him to cross the road.
Because it means he's not impinging on someone else's drive, trip or day.

We're big dumb loveable idiots too.

There are different flavours of Introversion, but I think this is how we operate in the world.

Anyway, all of that, happily, has come from seeing this, and reading her book, "Quiet" (amazon link here).

Susan Cain: The power of introverts

Society looks like it's skewed towards the Extroverts - the emphasis placed on the importance of group activity in school... offices made open-plan as the norm... the hundreds and hundreds of TV shows about 'performing', solely to please a judge or gatekeeper...

(By the way,
what happened to the TV shows that were about expressing yourself?
On your own terms?
Not to impress a judge?
Because that's who you are?
Curiously, these are the storytelling basics of Disney-Pixar, and our audience response probably shows they make for much much more compelling stories).

But it's not surprising, because Extroverts naturally make more noise about it being the 'right thing to do'.

Nature created a perverse balance... because Extroverts need someone to perform to or boss around (boss around... not lead)...

And maybe, just maybe that's another reason why we have Introverts.

If you're an Extrovert, don't be scared of us.

I know it's weird that we don't engage with your public displays of Alpha behaviour.

And that you don't trust us, because we're not making as much noise as you are.

But maybe we're thinking up something even better - as well as the right time to put it into the world.

My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is here

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