PART ONE: LIVING UP TO THE EXTROVERT IDEAL
Above are decorated qualities of stereotypical extroverts. Within our culture, we are nurtured according to these ideals as a recipe for personal success.
As a child I remember being grouped into 4s, 5s, 6s… to brainstorm, to share ideas, to learn. No doubt this was beneficial to certain students but this was hardly the case for me. I struggled to compose myself within group settings and proved to be a child “lacking in creativity” as deduced from the lack of assertiveness in my speech. To this day, I prefer individual thought before group contribution.
Not developing qualities as part of the extrovert ideal meant placing myself at risk of being singled out. Suddenly, social anxiety became less and less tolerated in the classroom setting. As a quiet child, you may find yourself being able to relate to this through your parents/mentors apologizing on your behalf for being “shy and quiet” (as if implying that anything other than assertively stating a spontaneous idea is unworthy).
PART TWO: EXTROVERSION OVERRATED, MY PERSONALITY UNDERRATED?
Now despite identifying more with the introverted personality type, I hardly consider myself to be a serious person, nor do I deem my silence to be a result of shyness. After spending more than a decade under an education system valuing the extrovert ideal, I had become convinced that my own personality would not be able to carry me to my personal goal to be heard among other more assertive, extroverted individuals. I was persuaded by my extroverted peers’ outspoken personalities that attempting to express more stereotypical traits of extroversion will dilute my previous troubles in group environments and bring me success. Perhaps I was trying to be what Susan Cain labelled in her book Quiet to be “pseudo-extrovert”.
When did the turning point occur you may ask? My progression only began in the last several months and thus, the (?) in PART TWO of this quick snapshot. It never before occurred to me prior to this time that perhaps the extrovert ideal appeared more dominant because of the louder, more assertive voices that conveyed them. On the other hand, those that appreciated more individual time have the tendency to express their successes in a quieter manner.
PART THREE: MY OWN RECIPE FOR CREATIVITY aka HOW I WANT TO LIVE
✓ Wake up naturally instead of by alarm… BEEP BEEP BEEPPPPP –slams snooze button- 1 tsp/day
✓ Save travelling time and work when I’m most productive (I commend businesses that offer telecommuting positions) repeat 5x weekly for best flavour
✓ Embrace my naturally horrible social skills by further isolating myself from others and working at home dice 9 oz. finely until nearly unnoticeable
✓ Realize there might actually be too many distractions around at home to make room for creativity anyway slowly stir in 5 dashes of cat videos each hour
✓ Flaunt my extra flexible schedule to my working peers (In reality, I work in a little cubicle… one can dream right?) add as much as you please for preferable results
THE WRAP: Can you hear me?
At the end of the day, the most important thing isn’t the fact that I identify more as an introvert –it’s discovering that I can live a fulfilling life under a dimly lit desk lamp instead of the Broadway stage spotlight. This also comes with realizing that extroverts themselves are not always comfortable in all social situations and that they too must make efforts to socialize. As cliche as it sounds, spend your days the way you think you should, not how you assume others’ think you should spend it. Staying home from what your more vocal peers deem to be the “biggest party of the year” is just as cool.
From the many fictional books I’ve read throughout the years, I learned there are different types of strength in this world and beyond it. While I strive to grow my knowledge, the most essential pinch of me is the part that adapts my personality to world –not the previous demeanor that pushed me to adapt another personality.
This is a response to: DP Challenge