I prefer tongue-tied knowledge to ignorant loquacity.
Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.
The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall of two hundred people might blog to two thousand, or two million, without thinking twice. The same person who finds it difficult to introduce himself to strangers might establish a presence online and then extend these relationships into the real world.
If you are an introvert, you are born with a temperament that craves to be alone, delights in meaningful connections, thinks before speaking and observes before approaching. If you are an introvert, you thrive in the inner sanctuary of the mind, heart and spirit, but shrink in the external world of noise, drama and chaos. As an introvert, you are sensitive, perceptive, gentle and reflective. You prefer to operate behind the scenes, preserve your precious energy and influence the world in a quiet, but powerful way.
Life is interesting. Just when you think you have things figured out, something happens and you realize that what you know is vastly overshadowed by the things you don’t. When I think about who I was a few years ago, and how much I thought I knew, I have to smile. But it’s a great indication of how far I’ve come and I need to keep growing and moving forward. I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned to this point.
1. You can’t do everything.
This is especially true for introverts. Life offers so many opportunities but not enough time to explore them all. Once you figure out which things are worth pursuing, you can dedicate yourself to them. Strong personal relationships are definitely on the top of my list, along with pursuing a meaningful career. While I have many hobbies, I only have time to pursue 1-2 at a time, so I often rotate them based on what I feel like doing.
2. Travel is the best investment.
Money spent on travel is never wasted. What you spend is given back tenfold in experiences, lessons, and personal growth. It gives you an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone, pushes your boundaries, and gives you incredible memories. One of my friends suggested that everyone should travel to both a first and third world country in order to get a perspective on the reality of the world. But travel of any kind definitely opens your eyes to what exists beyond your own life.
3. You’re not a failure.
Making mistakes doesn’t make you a failure. It just proves you’re human. But it’s how you respond to your mistakes that reveals your character. Every mistake is a valuable opportunity for growth. If you seize that opportunity, that’s a step in the right direction. Give yourself the same forgiveness you’d offer to someone else. Plus, making mistakes teaches you how to handle failure and disappointment.
4. Take breaks, seriously just do it.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with work, family, friends, social engagements, sporting events, and volunteer activities, especially for an introvert. Take time to be by yourself. Sit down, meditate, read a book, drink a mug of tea from start to finish (without having to heat it up in the microwave). The busyness of life will always be waiting for you, but you’ll be far better equipped to take it on after a break.
5. Choose kindness.
Do things for others. Make the right decision, even in the face of peer pressure. Take the moral high ground. Be considerate and courteous. Use tact, especially if you have to correct someone. Treat others with kindness. Act in a way that leaves a positive legacy with everyone you interact with. Being kind to others has no cost, but the effects last long after you’ve gone.
Do you have any life lessons to share?
When an introvert cares about someone, she also wants contact, not so much to keep up with the events of the other person’s life, but to keep up with what’s inside: the evolution of ideas, values, thoughts, and feelings.
Isn’t it refreshing to know that what comes perfectly natural for you is your greatest strength? Your power is in your nature. You may not think it’s a big deal that you can spend hours immersed in something that interests you—alone—but the extrovert next door has no idea how you do it.