Thursday, February 14, 2013

I'm an Introvert, How About You?

First, let me say Happy Valentine's Day.
And second, let me say that yes, I appreciate the irony of posting about how I am okay with being an introvert on this particular holiday.

That said, on with the post!

Made pizza last night -- yes homemade pizza where I knead the crust and use yeast and generally have the best of times making something delicious -- which, no offense to Texas, I had to learn to do because there is no pizza here like Chicago pizza and I had to take matters into my own hands. Literally.

But to the point, it was for a while just me and the dog and husband wasn't home yet and so I pumped up the volume on one of the TED podcasts I have on the old iPod for occasions such as these. And it was a woman named Susan Cain talking about the Power of Introverts.

Which definitely defines me. I am not shy, really. If you know me, I am often funny and sarcastic and even droll on occasion. I like to talk. But I also like to listen and observe. And I am absolutely fine with being alone and even eating in restaurants alone if I need to or sometimes even want to and going to the movies alone because dragging the husband to say a movie with subtitles or even Warm Bodies since he is not a zombie fan, is an exercise in 'how long can I ignore the eye rolling.' Which in case you're wondering, is pretty long if he has bought me popcorn. Yeah, I'm that easy.

It is part of why I am quite happy now that I work at home. Because although sometimes it gets lonely, mostly it does not. And mostly I can talk to colleagues in what I consider the perfect environment: on email or Twitter or texts-- where we can be succinct and witty and don't have to eat lunch together if we don't want to.

Susan Cain says that now that I've admitted this, I'm probably doing my best work. Which I think is true.

And while I am totally fine with teaching large groups -- and did it for years and continue to do so now as guest author, and while I love and adore my friends and family and other writers and editors and feel energized by their presence and greatly inspired by their ideas and humor and general existence, and could not imagine myself without them, it is best that after we've hung out that I go home to work on the inspiration from those ideas in the quiet of my own office.

Cain also observes that public school systems, with their current blind obedience to the trend of insisting that collaborative learning (i.e.- groups) is the BEST way to learn, are actually doing both introverts and extroverts a huge disservice. Because creativity and idea development quite often takes long periods of solitude and learning to work alone is a good thing. So is collaboration. But it's okay that we need both.

I'm ever so curious to see what you all think about this. So let me know. And if you have a second, here's the lecture -- in video form. Enjoy!

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