I really have known for a long time that I am an introvert, but it wasn't until this week that I have come to know better what that really means and how that relates to the kind of person I am. This week I read the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. This book has really crystallized for me why I do the things I do and why I relate to others the way I do. I now understand better that it is okay that I am an introvert and that there is nothing wrong with me being an introvert. As a matter of fact, Susan Cain says in her book that some of our greatest achievers like "Eleanor Roosevelt, Al Gore, Warren Buffett, Gandhi-and Rosa Parks" are/were introverts. If they had not been introverts, they may have not been able to perform those accomplishments. I am certainly not in their league, but I think I might not have done the good things I have accomplished if I had not been an introvert.
What kind of person is an introvert? According to Susan Cain, an introvert is a person who does not like a lot of stimulation. On the other hand, an extrovert requires a lot of stimulation. I do like to be in quiet places. My favorite time of day is when I get up in the morning to drink my morning coffee and read the Washington Post on my Nook with classical music in the background. Right now as I write this blog posting, I am drinking another cup of coffee and am listening to classical music, and I feel happy doing this. I only like to go out with one or two people. If I am with a group of people, I tend to talk with people on a one on one basis. I also tend to work on one task at a time where I can devote my concentration on the best. I do not like to multitask. I also do not like confrontation. I tend to freeze when someone confronts me. All of these things I like and dislike are traits of introverts. Certainly this is not a complete list of introvert traits, but I think you get the idea of why I am an introvert.
Sometimes I have to be an extrovert, at least in some aspects. When I was a teacher at Stonewall Jackson High School in Prince William County, Virginia, I quickly had to learn how to confront students when they were misbehaving in class. When I worked at IBM, I had to learn how to run meetings, both department meetings when I was a manager and customer meetings when I worked in the program office. In my current job as a GED teacher at the Adult Detention Center (ADC) in Manassas and the ADC Liaison between the ADC and the Adult Learning Center, I am the master of ceremony at the GED graduation ceremony that we have 3 times a year. I have to keep this event moving along, and I even have to give a short speech at the beginning of the ceremony. I did not want to be the ADC Liaison because of what I would have to do at these graduations, but I decided to accept the job anyway. I knew it would be a challenge for me, but I also knew I needed that challenge in order to grow more as a teacher and as a person.
Now that I understand better what kind of person I am, I will try to learn more about what an introvert is and how I can use this knowledge to become a better person. Hopefully, it will also help me know when I need to be an extrovert and how to do so when the situation calls for it. I think that will help me have an even richer life.