• 10 Ways Introverts Interact Differently With The World

    By Alena Hall

    Introverts and extraverts may seem the same on the surface, but if you look at the way they respond to life’s everyday occurrences, differences begin to emerge.

    Last month, for example, Science of Us writer Melissa Dahl reported on findings from psychologist Brian Little’s latest book on personality science, Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being, which showed that introverts are better off avoiding caffeine before a big meeting or important event.

    Little cites the theory of extraversion by Hans Eysenck and research by William Revelle of Northwestern University, explaining that introverts and extraverts naturally differ when it comes to their alertness and responsiveness to a given environment. A substance or scene that overstimulates the central nervous system of an introvert (which doesn’t take much) might cause him or her to feel overwhelmed and exhausted, rather than excited and engaged.

     In her 2012 TED Talk titled “The Power of Introverts,” author Susan Cain reiterated this point in her definition of introversion, explaining that the trait is “different from being shy.”

    “Shyness is about fear of social judgment,” Cain said. “Introversion is more about how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. So extraverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched on and their most capable when they are in quieter, more low-key environments.”

    Now it goes without saying that most of our societal constructs cater to the former — from open office spaces to loud bars to the structure of our educational system — despite the fact that anywhere from one-third to half of the population has an introverted temperament.

    While a person’s introverted or extraverted tendencies fall within a spectrum — there is no such thing as a pure introvert or pure extravert, according to famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung — an introvert is most obvious and vulnerable when he or she is in an overstimulating environment.

    Coffee jitters aside, here are 10 ways introverts physically interact with the world around them differently than extraverts.

    They withdraw in crowds.

    “We hit the 20th century and we entered a new culture that historians call the culture of personality,” said Cain in her TED Talk. “We had evolved from an agricultural economy to a world of big business, and so suddenly people are moving from small towns to the cities, and instead of working alongside people they’ve known all their lives, now they are having to prove themselves in a crowd of strangers.”

    The resulting crowd, which is often loud, noisy and congested, easily overstimulates introverts and drains them of their physical energy. They end up feeling more physically isolated than supported by their surroundings, and would rather be anywhere but that sea of people.

    Small talk stresses them out, while deeper conversations make them feel alive.

    While most extraverts are energized by such interactions, introverts often feel intimidated, bored or exhausted by them. It’s not uncommon in large conversations for introverts to take on the role of the quiet listener and then take time alone once it’s complete. As Sophia Dembling, the author of The Introvert’s Way: Living A Quiet Life In A Noisy World, explains in her book, it ultimately comes down to how a person receives (or doesn’t receive) energy from his or her surroundings. Instead, introverts prefer deeper conversations, oftentimes about philosophical ideas.

    They succeed on stage — just not in the chit-chat afterwards.

    “At least half of people who speak for a living are introverted in nature,” according to Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D, a certified speaking professional, executive coach and author of Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference. They simply play to their strengths, and prepare extensively. In fact, some of the most successful performers are introverts. Remaining on a stage, removed from a massive audience, proves far easier than the small talk-filled conversations that follow.

    They get distracted easily, but rarely feel bored.

    If you’re looking to destroy an introverted person’s attention span, just put them in a situation where they feel overstimulated. Due to increased sensitivity to their surroundings, introverts struggle with feeling distracted and sometimes overwhelmed in large crowds and open office spaces.

    However, when they are in peace and quiet, they have no issue tending to a favorite hobby or delving into a new book for hours. Having that time to take care of their inner selves helps them recharge while enjoying an activity they already enjoy.

    They are naturally drawn to more creative, detail-oriented and solitary careers.

    Introverts naturally prefer spending time alone or in a small group, delving deeply into one task at a time and taking their time when it comes to making decisions and solving problems. Therefore, they fare better in work environments that allow them to do all of these things. Certain professions — including writers, in-the-field natural scientists and behind-the-scenes tech workers — can give introverts the intellectual stimulation they crave without the distracting environment they dislike.

    When surrounded by people, they locate themselves close to an exit.

    Introverts not only feel physically uncomfortable in crowded places, but also do their best to mediate that discomfort by hanging as close to the periphery as possible. Whether it be by an exit, at the back of a concert hall, or an aisle row on an airplane, they avoid being surrounded by people on all sides, according to Dembling.

    “We’re likely to sit in places where we can get away when we’re ready to — easily,” Dembling previously told HuffPost.

    They think before they speak.

    This habit of introverts is often what earns them their reputations as listeners. It is second nature to them to take their time before opening their mouths, reflecting internally, instead of thinking out loud (which is more common among extraverts). They may seem more quiet and shy because of this behavior, but it just means that when they do speak, the words they share have that much more thought — and sometimes power — behind them.

    They don’t take on the mood of their environment like extraverts do.

    A 2013 study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that extraverts and introverts process experiences through the brain’s “reward” centers quite differently. While extraverts often sense a feel-good rush of dopamine related to their surroundings, introverts tend to not experience such a shift. In fact, people who are naturally introverted do not process rewards from external factors as strongly as extraverts do.

    They physically can’t stand talking on the phone.

    Most introverts screen their phone calls — even from their friends — for several reasons. The intrusive ringing forces them to abandon focus on a current project or thought and reassign it to something unexpected. Plus, most phone conversations require a certain level of small talk that introverts avoid. Instead, introverts may let calls go to voicemail so they can return them when they have the proper energy and attention to dedicate to the conversation.

    They literally shut down when it’s time to be alone.

    “Solitude matters, and for some people, it is the air that they breathe.” – Susan Cain

    Every introvert has a limit when it comes to stimulation. HuffPost blogger Kate Bartolotta explains it well when she writes, “Think of each of us as having a cup of energy available. For introverts, most social interactions take a little out of that cup instead of filling it the way it does for extroverts. Most of us like it. We’re happy to give, and love to see you. When the cup is empty though, we need some time to refuel.”



  • Life in a Haunted House

    Life in a Haunted House

    haunted house kids trick or treatWe never get any trick-or-treaters. I can tell myself that it’s because we’re the only house on a dead-end street and surely, being off the beaten path is part of the problem. But if I’m to be completely honest, it’s because I know that little kids are afraid of our home.

    Yes, we live in THAT house.

    It’s the one we all dared each other to visit on Halloween. The one that got the occasional egging from only the bravest, most rebellious teens. The one that made toddlers cry.

    In the neighborhood I grew up in outside of Chicago, there was a dark, recessed house that looked like a Turkish prison. It definitely stuck out, as the rest of the homes in our neighborhood had been built in the early 1960s and had a decidedly family-friendly feel to them. Swing sets in the back yard, goofy Halloween decorations and middle class tastes made them look safe, even when the masters of those homes appeared grumpy and mean, and the mistresses depressed, lonely and on the edge.

    At the Turkish prison house, me and my friend Laura would get about as far as ringing the doorbell, but ultimately, we’d chicken out and run away. I don’t think we ever got candy from those people, and if we had, we would’ve probably stuffed it in their mailbox before high-tailing it out of there. Afraid that any loot we might’ve scored was laced with arsenic, battery acid or just plain old bad juju.

    haunted-house

    I recognize now that the unfortunate, in all likelihood sweet-as-heck folks who lived in that house waited in vain every Halloween for someone – anyone – to come by and put a dent in that bag of Hershey’s Minis they felt obligated to buy every year…just in case.

    I know that’s what we do.

    Maybe you’re thinking, “Aw, come on. It can’t be that bad. You seem nice enough – I’m sure there’s a very good reason why no one will trick-or-treat at your house.”

    And there is.

    Our house is haunted.

    haunted house ghost and manIt’s no surprise, as our house is really, really old and has had a lot of traffic. She was built while Thomas Jefferson was still among us and living across town for heaven’s sake, cross-breeding heirloom vegetables and writing letters that now sit in the Smithsonian. She’s been a general store, grain depot, bar, theater, voting place, boarding house, student ghetto, and a musician’s flophouse (we’ve been told Art Garfunkel partied at our home in the 1960s – scary, right?), until finally, over the course of two owners, she morphed into a single-family home.

    I think our basement is the crux of the problem. An old-fashioned wet basement, it looks like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. It is populated by numerous snakes and spiders that we welcome as part of the delicate ecosystem of our house, as those critters keep the mouse and insect population in check. But that’s not why I mention it, and it’s not why little kids who don’t know us do the fifty yard dash past our property line.

    It’s that our basement was also once used as a (gulp!) Civil War morgue.

    So maybe that’s where all of the cling-clangs, footsteps, apparitions and ghostly murmurs come from!

    gettyimages_3170621

    Case in point, in our most recent paranormal encounter, I got up in the middle of the night to fetch myself some water. When I returned to our bed, I distinctly heard a man’s whisper and turned to my husband.

    “Did you say something, honey?” I said.

    My husband told me that he had not.

    “But I heard it, too,” he said. “Let’s talk about it in the morning.” Which we did, but without the drama and hullabaloo you might imagine.

    We’re not afraid anymore. We’ve been living here long enough to know that these odd occurrences are just our home’s way of saying hello every once in a while.

    downstairs

    And that’s what I’m getting at.

    As spooky as our house may seem to outsiders, we know she loves and protects us.

    Like a loyal, old crone, she objects loudly and emphatically to people who annoy, interfere or in any way attempt to cause mischief in our lives.

    When my grandmother got ornery and meddling in the years before she died, our house would actually respond to her visits – keeping her up at night with grating, intermittent noises that tormented my Baba’s sleep like Chinese water-torture. The plumbing wouldn’t behave for her, temperature controls would go haywire and the guest room TV screen might simply go on strike.

    I don’t have to tell you that all of these petty annoyances would vanish the moment Baba pulled out of our driveway, Rush Limbaugh blasting from her radio and a cloud of cigarette smoke billowing out of the passenger side window.

    Now, I loved my grandmother – even at her worst. But my house? Not so much. She always preferred the company of my more cheerful mom, who accompanied my grandmother on her visits, but would remain curiously unbothered by the woo-woo goings on.

    monster mash

    And I love that our house is strong – clad in history’s armor. Thick-walled and made of brick. She barely shakes when the trains go by, standing broad-chested and chivalrous; a black, Southern grandmother. She has been a friend and safe haven throughout violent weather, illness and economic catastrophe. Even when we’ve scowled at her and bristled at the tyranny of caring for her scratches, bruises and idiosyncrasies.

    But we have never let her down either, and she knows it.

    My husband and I have fought her and fought for her, fixing her face-paint, finding the right doctors for her Edison-era wiring, buying her a brand new roof that sits on her head like a Sunday hat. No more piles of cold, young men, whooping cowboys, tired merchants, transients, or naked hippies. Our children have filled her life with laughter. They’ve hidden their secrets in her many nooks and crannies and papered her walls with their dreams.

    We have given her a happy family.

    So, please, consider coming by this Halloween. We have all the good kinds of candy and you’re sure to get a big handful instead of the usual one piece allotment that more popular homes dispense.

    coven



  • How Not to Manage an Introvert – Dr. Marla Gottschalk

    Note: originally posted here

     

    Do you supervise individuals that would describe themselves as an introvert? If the answer is “yes,” you may want to take a moment to examine how you manage them. In many cases, we hold misconceptions about introversion, which can lead to ill-fated supervisory decisions. I’d like to point you in the right direction.

    While many people confuse being introverted with shyness, introversion is in fact about how an individual handles stimulation. (Introverts will likely feel over-stimulated sooner than an extrovert). Those on the introverted end of the introversion-extroversion continuum require a slightly different set of workplace conditions to excel — and it is not difficult to become more sensitive to their needs. Small changes in management and workplace elements can transact into an environment that is more conducive to success.

    A few things to re-think:

    • Putting them on the spot. It would be misguided to expect an opinion from an introvert at the “drop of the hat”. One hallmark of introversion is the need to sit with one’s thoughts and process information. If you offer an introvert a period of time to process, you’ll likely take full advantage of their vantage point and skill set.
    • Publicly recognizing them. Stop yourself. Really. Many introverts would rather jump off a cliff than have attention shifted in their direction without notice. If they are about to to receive an award or accolade, let them know what you are planning ahead of time. They’ll appreciate the gesture and have time to prepare.
    • That they dislike teams. Introverts are not against teaming or social interaction — they would just prefer to manage this and contribute on their own terms. This means time to ruminate over issues on the table and providing bit of a lull before they will jump into the conversation. Teaming can become a challenge, in direct opposition to how they would normally approach their work. So be sure to offer opportunities for introverts to start the idea generation process before team meetings and limit over-stimulation.
    • Open offices. Never underestimate the power of a quiet space. (You don’t have to be an introvert to appreciate a calm environment in which to process information.) Incorporating spaces within your office design that allow for quiet and privacy is always a wise move. (Read more about that here.) Someone leaning toward the introverted side of the continuum will be forever grateful.
    • That they have nothing to say. Wrong. By nature introverts can be less likely to share their thoughts, which makes it even more important to open the lines of communication regularly. Send them an e-mail, asking how their projects are progressing. Set up a weekly “touch base” meeting. They can reflect on their work and respond fully on their own terms.
    • That introverts cannot lead. Truth be told, you’ll be overlooking a lot of potential. Recent research has shown that introverts are more open to differences in opinion than their extroverted colleagues. As a result, they are more likely to make informed decisions. In fact, it has been shown their hesitancy to monopolize the conversation, can make them powerful team members. Sounds like leadership material to me.


  • Hurt – Trent Reznor

    I cannot help but notice the following. When Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor, wrote  ‘Hurt’, it was clearly about his feelings of pain, depression, and suicide. At least that’s the meaning I feel that I get when listening to the NiN’s version of the song. Over time, I’ve heard many covers of this song, some have done Reznor’s work justice, while other’s have not. Clearly though, the one cover that always stands out is Johnny Cash’s version. It’s been widely disputed that the emotions being expressed in the song are either Reznor’s himself or the protagonist of the album that the song was written for. While there is an emotional attachment to his song, it’s not a full on emotional attachment. Now, when you listen to Cash’s version, you see images (in your head as well as on the screen (if you are watching the video)) of Cash in his youth and currently, an immediate and very deep emotional bond is created like a fish hook catching all of your most critical and sensitive heartstrings. No longer is Johnny strumming his acoustical guitar, but the guitar of your heart, strung with the strings of your heart. Every sound, every note that’s played, resonates with you (the listener) on a very deep, personal level. No longer is the song about illicit drug use (as implied by NiN’s version), but when Cash plays, you feel how this is *his* personal struggle with diabetes drugs, how he feels every time he swallows more pills, or injects himself with insulin, yet again. How, despite all that, he can still feel his body failing and there is nothing he can do about it but accept it.

    I think it’s really important to note that when he uses the line “empire of dirt”, it’s a clear reference (to me at least), that he is talking about how his life is nothing but a pile of dirt, despite all his achievements, everything he amounted too still isn’t worth much in the greater scheme of things. I also believe that his change of “crown of shit” to “crown of thorns”, while a clear reference to his deep personal beliefs is also acceptance of his fate. He knows that no matter how many pills he swallows, or how many times he injects himself with a needle, he’s not going to live for ever, eventually he will die, and he accepts that.

    It’s amazing though, the long and short of this is that the change of one word, played and sung in a different key and different images changes the whole tone of the song. It certainly makes you stop and think.



  • Featured Image Preview: [Tentative] A day in the life of a gargoyle …. (Draft 1)

    Chapter 1:
    My toe itches and I can’t scratch it! My joints are stiff and I can’t move. But I can see. I can see the alley and the street below me. I can see everything. The muggers, the rapists, sad people, poor people, happy people, nobodies and important people alike. And all I can do is watch them, from my lofty perch atop this monolithic tribute to a decadent time long past.Tonight, it’s raining. And my toe still itches. It’s been raining for days now … it’s amazing this putrid, obscene and squalid collection of buildings called modern society hasn’t destroyed itself yet. Something doesn’t feel right though, there is an electricity in the air. The storm is growing worse. It’s gotten darker and there are more and more lightning strikes everywhere … I see some small fires in the distance, burning bright, despite the torrents and torrents of rain everywhere.

    Somewhere near by, I can here a woman crying, pitifully. I think she is in the same ally I overlook. GOD! My toe itches and I want to scratch it so bad! I think she’s in trouble, I wish I could help her. [Radical jump here, brings story out of context*]Don’t get me wrong, I was once human, but I was cursed by a powerful wizard, eons past. Cursed at first to prowl the night, hunting it, haunting it. This curse came with gifts too, heightened speed, sight and hearing, and a need for blood and flesh. So I could very well hear that this crying woman was down the ally from where I was eternally perched. I didn’t know why yet, I might not ever know why. I can only suspect.

    For a while I was content with what I did. But I killed and fed upon the child of someone more evil then I or my creator. He wasn’t happy that his child was defiled by someone of my nature, he was especially enraged that his child had died by the hand of a night defiler, a gargoyle. This evil man set out to hunt me. Imagine that! I was the king of the night for countless millennia , no one challenged me and everyone feared me. To go from hunter to hunted in one night was not easy. For a while I was able to stay ahead of him …. but he had things more evil and deviant then I ever imagined, things I could never dream of, at his disposal. For centuries I was able to stay a few steps ahead of this man. In that timed I learned about some of his demons, many damned souls like myself. I even learned a few names … that’s the key, know there true name in the ancient tongues can set a damned soul free.

    • * doesn’t fit, needs to be excised and transplanted elsewhere, later in the story.


  • Walt Disney

    Seriously, no one was as sick, twisted, dark, and demented as this man was. Personally, I think he’s brilliant (and all the truly weird ones are!). But I do have to ask, why do we subject our children to his cleverly hidden humor? Just look at some of these quotes and think about them for a little while.



  • Everyday emptiness is sadness. (Spoken word)

    Everyday I wake up and wonder why. Everyday, I see people in love and I wonder, why not me? Why can’t I find mine? When will I ever get my chance again? Everyday, I wake up feeling empty, incomplete, hollow. Everyday, I am reminded of that pain and it’s a fishhook In my cheek, pulling me down the ever familure downward spiral, awash in the sea of despair.

    Everyday, I show strength in the face of others, I am the lion, fierce and mighty about my beliefs, never backing down, never giving up, always fighting the good fight. Everyday, I am the meek field mouse, quiet and unassuming about what I really want. A simple life, happiness, to be happy with someone. Everyday, I am the monkey, cunning and agile. Quick of wit, quicker of tongue. It’s my shield, protecting me from being hurt again, and again.

    All of this for what? What has it gained me? Has it earned me anything? Have I been given special awards and rewarded for my ingenuity in my personal struggles? Nothing comes easy to me, I get it, life is hard. Well, life has always been harder for me, every victory hard won, bittersweet and usually mixed with the all to familure taste of copper. I can’t just stand up and take what I want. That would be too easy. It carries little in the way of meaningful achievement. I want to earn it, at ever personal cost. If I earn it, then it is mine, till then, it is just something else to tirelessly work for as it is always one step ahead of me.

    And who cares? Really cares? Who has really been there for me? Who notices how hard I really work? Who notices that I am beaten, broken, and yet, I still go on anyway. Always remember, the face I show you everyday in public, it’s just as hollow and empty as I feel behind closed doors. And that’s not because I don’t care, in fact it’s because I do care, too much.

    I am the folly of a good man pushed to far in a world where not enough people care about the depth and breadth that is me.

    20140626-080217-28937364.jpg



  • Give a man a fish and he eats for a day,

    I’m not one to quote scripture in any form because most of the time, I don’t believe it myself. But, every once in a while, there are stories that are relevant and religion-neutral. The story of the fisherman is one of them. This story is actually very simple in it’s telling, but very complex and rich in its meaning. Teach that same man to fish, and he will eat for life.

    But, I think this begs the question, what if that man is greedy and covets all the fish in the sea? No matter how you split this hair, it’s going to end badly because; a) the fisherman will have an endless supply of rotting fish or b) the fisherman will be rich, rich beyond his wildest dreams because he managed to sell all the fish he caught in the sea and now all of his fellow people are poorer then they were to start, but have full bellies (of fish). Either way, there will be no more fish in the sea for someone else to catch (and eat).

    In my case, I was was taught to fish, I did my due diligence and was patient. That patience has finally paid off, but now I have my hands full of fish I don’t know what to do with. I only wanted one, now I have three.



  • Untitled.

    Mostly because I’m not sure how I would actually classify today. In short, it sucked, no one cares, boohoo. It still sucked, major monkey nuts. In the midst of all this, I had someone inform me that they failed to understand how someone who is naturally shy, is a raging introvert, yet be capable of deeply intelligent, constructive conversation can still be shy.

    Clearly, this person doesn’t get me, has no interest in getting me and to be perfectly honest, I don’t care. I’m not going to loose sleep over it. I’m just left in a more then slightly befuddled state as I sit here and reflect on the day before heading off to bed.