Skipping a Level Isn’t the Same as Beating It

-by Wes Colton, Introvert Unbound

Skipping-levelI get it. You’re not where you want to be in life and you’re overwhelmed by all the hard work it’s going to take to get there.

You’re constantly bombarded with advice from friends, family, coaches, therapists, and gurus: Read books. Socialize more. Lift weights. Take classes. Change your diet. Find a new career. All of these options—many of which aren’t right for you now or contradict one another—no wonder you’re starting to tune them out.

Obviously, you can’t do everything at once. The key is to pick a single area and make that your focus for a while.

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Why Most Advice for Introverts is Dead Wrong

– by Wes Colton, Introvert Unbound

Danger Bad Advice AheadI love everything about being an introvert, from my thoughtfulness, to my preference for deep connection, to my appreciation of solitude. As a writer and musician, introversion is central to my being and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Writing about and working with other introverts, I’ve come across countless introvert books and blogs, videos and podcasts, Facebook pages and groups, and Twitter accounts. I’ve learned so much great stuff from these sources, including the science behind introversion, the need to accept the way our brains work, and of course all the funny cartoons.

However, there’s one rotten thread I’ve found running through most of them: encouragement for introverts NOT to push our comfort zone. Either implicitly or explicitly, the message is all too often that because you’re an introvert it’s okay to avoid socializing. And that if people think you’re weird because you never talk to or hang out with them, it’s up to them to change.

For fifteen long years, I bought into this terrible advice, not realizing how much this mindset contributed to my depression and anxiety. Only when I started to question whether being a virtual hermit was good for my mental health, did my life change for the better.

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Ditching the Introvert Crutch

– by Wes Colton, Introvert Unbound 

3d-happy-man-jumping-throwing-crutches-3d-illustration-of-person-joyful-jump-throwing-crutches-3d-drawing_csp17031606-2Sorry to break it to you, but being an introvert isn’t an excuse for sucking at conversation. All too often we introverts let ourselves skip social engagements by pretending we weren’t born to interact with other humans. But that’s just a crutch and leaning on it keeps us from standing on our own two feet.

Accepting and embracing the fact that we’re introverts is key. But so is recognizing that we live in an extroverted society where regular socializing is crucial to our friendships, love life, and career. And, believe it or not, developing social skills can actually make the process a lot of fun.

If you find it impossible to strike up a conversation with a stranger, it’s simply because you haven’t tried it enough. Granted, it’s way easier for extroverts to practice this skill because not only do they enjoy blabbing about whatever crosses their mind, they’re addicted to doing so. While introverts recharge by reading a book, watching a movie, or going on a hike, extroverts get their energy by talking to people.

But just because it’s harder for us introverts, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Socializing is really just a habit, so as soon as you start doing it, it becomes routine. And if you do it long enough, you’ll feel weird if you stop (the same thing goes for hiding at home, of course).

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