The emphasis is on community, on participating in more and more programs and events, on meeting more and more people. It's a constant tension for many introverts that they're not living that out. And in a religious world, there's more at stake when you feel that tension. It doesn't feel like 'I'm not doing as well as I'd like.' It feels like 'God isn't pleased with me.'
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The other thing Aron found about sensitive people is that sometimes they're highly empathic. It's as if they have thinner boundaries separating them from other people's emotions and from the tragedies and cruelties of the world. They tend to have unusually strong consciences. ... they're acutely aware of the consequences of a lapse in their own behavior.
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As a young boy, Charles Darwin made friends easily but preferred to spend his time taking long, solitary nature walks. (As an adult he was no different. "My dear Mr. Babbage," he wrote to the famous mathematician who had invited him to a dinner party, "I am very much obliged to you for sending me cards for your parties, but I am afraid of accepting them, for I should meet some people there, to whom I have sworn by all the saints in Heaven, I never go out.")
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We're told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts -- which means that we've lost sight of who we really are. Depending on which study you consult, one-third to one half of Americans are introverts -- in other words one out of every two or three people you know.
Indeed, your biggest challenge may be to fully harness your strengths. You may be so busy trying to appear like a zestful, reward-sensitive extrovert that you undervalue your own talents, or feel underestimated by those around you. But when you're focused on a project that you care about, you probably find that your energy is boundless.
Many Introverts are also "highly sensitive," which sounds poetic, but is actually a technical term in psychology. If you are a sensitive sort, then you're more apt than the average person to feel pleasantly overwhelmed by Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" or a well-turned phrase or an act of extraordinary kindness. You may be quicker than others to feel sickened by violence and ugliness, and you likely have a very strong conscience.
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Schwartz's research suggests something important: we can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point. Our inborn temperaments influence us, regardless of the lives we lead. A sizeable part of who we are is ordained by our genes, by our brains, by our nervous systems. And yet the elasticity that Schwartz found in some of the high-reactive teens also suggests the converse: we have free will and can use it to shape our personalities.
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Ask your child for information in a gentle, nonjudgmental way, with specific, clear questions. Instead of "How was your day?" try "What did you do in math class today?" Instead of "Do you like your teacher?" ask "What do you like about your teacher?" Or "What do you not like so much?" Let her take her time to answer. Try to avoid asking, in the overly bright voice of parents everywhere, "Did you have fun in school today?!" She'll sense how important it is that the answer be yes.
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Introverts may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.
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Ask your child for information in a gentle, nonjudgmental way, with specific, clear questions. Instead of 'How was your day?' try 'What did you do in math class today?' Instead of 'Do you like your teacher?' ask 'What do you like about your teacher?' Or 'What do you not like so much?' Let her take her time to answer. Try to avoid asking, in the overly bright voice of parents everywhere, 'Did you have fun in school today?!' She'll sense how important it is that the answer be yes.
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Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.
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It's not that there is no small talk... It's that it comes not at the beginning of conversations but at the end... Sensitive people... 'enjoy small talk only after they've gone deep' says Strickland. 'When sensitive people are in environments that nurture their authenticity, they laugh and chitchat just as much as anyone else.
Introverts living under the Extroversion Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform
One noteworthy study suggests that people who suppress negative emotions tend to leak those emotions later in unexpected ways. The psychologist Judith Grob asked people to hide their emotions when she showed them disgusting images. She even had them hold pens in their mouths to prevent them from frowning. She found that this group reported feeling less disgusted by the pictures than did those who'd been allowed to react naturally. Later, however, the people who hid their emotions suffered side effects. Their memory was impaired, and the negative emotions they'd suppressed seemed to color their outlook. When Grob had them fill in the missing letter to the word "gr_ss", for example, they were more likely than others to offer "gross" rather than "grass". "People who tend to [suppress their negative emotions] regularly, " concludes Grob, "might start to see their world in a more negative light." p. 223
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I need a break after school, " she told me later. "School is hard because a lot of people are in the room, so you get tired. I freak out if my mom plans a play date without telling me, because I don't want to hurt my friends' feelings. But I'd rather stay home. At a friend's house you have to do the things other people want to do. I like hanging out with my mom after school because I can learn from her. She's been alive longer than me. We have thoughtful conversations. I like having conversations because they make people happy.
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Extroverts are more likely to take a quick-and-dirty approach to problem-solving, trading accuracy for speed, making increasing numbers of mistakes as they go, and abandoning ship altogether when the problem seems too difficult or frustrating. Introverts think before they act, digest information thoroughly, stay on task longer, give up less easily, and work more accurately. Introverts and extroverts also direct their attention differently: if you leave them to their own devices, the introverts tend to sit around wondering about things, imagining things, recalling events from their past, and making plans for the future. The extroverts are more likely to focus on what's happening around them. It's as if extroverts are seeing "what is" while their introverted peers are asking "what if.
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Now that you're an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book. Or maybe you like to eat alone in restaurants and could do without the pitying looks from fellow diners. Or you're told that you're "in your head too much", a phrase that's often deployed against the quiet and cerebral. Or maybe there's another word for such people: thinkers.
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you once said to would like to sit beside me while I write. Listen in that case I could not write at all. For writing means revealing one self to excess; that utmost of self-revelation and surrender, in which a human being, when involved with others, would feel he was losing himself, and from which, therefore, he will always shrink as long as he is in his right mind... That is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why there can never be enough silence around one when one writes, why even night is not night enough.
A Manifesto for Introverts 1. There's a word for 'people who are in their heads too much': thinkers. 2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation. 3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths. 4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time to be quiet later. 5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters. 6. One genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards. 7. It's OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk. 8. 'Quiet leadership' is not an oxymoron. 9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional. 10. 'In a gentle way, you can shake the world.' -Mahatma Gandhi
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Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you're supposed to. Stay home on New Year's Eve if that's what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story. Make a deal with yourself that you'll attend a set number of social events in exchange for not feeling guilty when you beg off.
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.. it makes sense that introverts are uniquely good at leading intiative-takers. Because of their inclination to listen to others and lack of interest in dominating social situations, introverts are more likely to hear and implement suggestions. Having benefited from the talents of their followers, they are then likely to motivate them to be even more proactive. Introverted leaders create a virtious circle of proactivity.
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We often marvel at how introverted, geeky, kid 'blossom' into secure and happy adults. We liken it to a metamorphosis. However, maybe it's not the children who change but their environments. As adults they get to select the careers, spouses, and social circles that suit them. They don't have to live in whatever culture they'er plunked into.
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In the first study, Grant and his colleagues analyzed data from one of the five biggest pizza chains in the United States. They discovered that the weekly profits of the stores managed by extroverts were 16 percent higher than the profits of those led by introverts""but only when the employees were passive types who tended to do their job without exercising initiative. Introverted leaders had the exact opposite results. When they worked with employees who actively tried to improve work procedures, their stores outperformed those led by extroverts by more than 14 percent.
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Love is essential; gregariousness is optional. Cherish your nearest and dearest. Work with colleagues you like and respect. Scan new acquaintances for those who might fall into the former categories or whose company you enjoy for its own sake. And don't worry about socializing with everyone else. Relationships make everyone happier, introverts included, but think quality over quantity.
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Remember that introverts react not only to new people, but also to new places and events. So don't mistake a child's caution in new situations for an inability to relate to others. He's recoiling from novelty or overstimulation, not from human contact. Introverts are just as likely as the next kid to seek others' company, though often in smaller doses
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So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don't let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don't force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way.
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We don't ask why God chose as his prophet a stutterer with a public speaking phobia. But we should. The book of Exodus is short on explication, but its stories suggest that introversion plays yin to the yang of extroversion; that the medium is not always the message; and that people followed Moses because his words were thoughtful, not because he spoke them well.
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In a way, education by its nature favours the extrovert because you are taking kids and putting them into a big classroom, which is automatically going to be a high-stimulation environment. Probably the best way of teaching in general is one on one, but that's not something everyone can afford.
I worry that there are people who are put in positions of authority because they're good talkers, but they don't have good ideas. It's so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with, and those traits are rewarded. Well, why is that? They're valuable traits, but we put too much of a premium on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking.
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Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it. If this requires public speaking or networking or other activities that make you uncomfortable, do them anyway. But accept that they're difficult, get the training you need to make them easier, and reward yourself when you're done.
INTROVERTS are especially vulnerable to challenges like marital tension, a parent's death, or abuse. They're more likely than their peers to react to these events with depression, anxiety, and shyness. Indeed, about a quarter of Kagan's high-reactive kids suffer from some degree of the condition known as "social anxiety disorder," a chronic and disabling form of shyness.
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...remember the dangers of the New Groupthink. If it's creativity you're after, ask your employees to solve problems alone before sharing their ideas. If you want the wisdom of the crowd, gather it electronically, or in writing, and make sure people can't see each other's ideas until everyone has had a chance to contribute.
Psychologists usually offer three explanations for the failure of group brainstorming. The first is social loafing: in a group, some individuals tend to sit back and let others do the work. The second is production blocking: only one person can talk or produce an idea at once, while the other group members are forced to sit passively. And the third is evaluation apprehension, meaning the fear of looking stupid in front of one's peers.
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Whoever you are, bear in mind that appearance is not reality. Some people act like extroverts, but the effort costs them energy, authenticity, and even physical health. Others seem aloof or self-contained, but their inner landscapes are rich and full of drama. So the next time you see a person with a composed face and a soft voice, remember that inside her mind she might be solving an equation, composing a sonnet, designing a hat. She might, that is, be deploying the powers of quiet.
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Theodor Geisel (otherwise known as Dr. Seuss) spent his workdays ensconced in his private studio, the walls lined with sketches and drawings, in a bell-tower outside his La Jolla, California, house. Geisel was a much more quiet man than his jocular rhymes suggest. He rarely ventured out in public to meet his young readership, fretting that kids would expect a merry, outspoken, Cat in the Hat""like figure, and would be disappointed with his reserved personality. "In mass, [children] terrify me," he admitted.
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