Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Incredible Introverts

We live in a society where loudest tends to garner the majority of attention.  Most outrageous elicits the greatest number of gawks and gazes (and even "likes"!).  Our culture having become "a look at me, look at me" type.  The most outgoing is touted as having the best chance for making friends, landing the job, and seizing all manner of certain opportunities.  The more quiet among us, tending to be put down or thought of as though there is "something wrong" with us for being "too shy," "strange," "quiet," "anti social," or "not much of a go-getter."  Simply by means of preferring ones own company, tending to be more shy, and potentially being more introspective and quiet.

We turn towards those who shout, figuratively and literally, instead of those who are more watchful and considering.

We give the most mind to whomever posts the most shocking, revealing, and bombastic posts, as opposed to those who are more thoughtful, the information offered having been carefully selected, and well spoken.

We watch those in the center of the action, tending toward ignoring those along the sidelines.

We give the attention to whomever is the most scantily clad, their clothing begging for attention, instead of the more modest and mysterious who leave us to wonder.

We tend to shun those who are quiet, shy, deep thinking, analytical, thoughtful.  Writing them off as strange or antisocial or boring, and tending to assume those who are loud to be charismatic, "fun to be with," and charming.  Even if in fact, the things this loud person says and does are not especially intelligent or charming or fun.  Often enough, ignoring the actual words and drawn instead to the noise and energy.

We live in a culture where the bullhorn is seen as top.  The quiet belongs on the lower rung or are hardly noticed at all, relegated to the sidelines, and even shunned as being "weird" or outliers.

We live in a culture where noise is perpetual and seen as a good thing.  Filling the quiet, and deemed a necessity.  We fear introspection, our own company, silence, reflection.  Instead, needing to fill all space and pause with noise and distraction.  Most of which isnt of especially high quality or deeply nourishing to our mind and hearts.

1/3 to 1/2 of people are introverts.  That is a significant number.

Most of us are subject to the bias that this is not a good thing.  Can it really be though, that there is something wrong with 1/3 to 1/2 of the population?  That seems highly unlikely.  In which case, our negative perceptions are unfounded, and even flat out inaccurate.

There is a common misconception that introverts are anti social or that they dislike social interaction.  Not so.  Not even close.  The true definition and distinction between extroverts and introverts is where they derive their energy fromThats itIts how they respond to external stimulation.

Extroverts derive their energy from social interaction.  This energizes, fills, and excites them.  Introverts derive their energy from being within their own minds, in their own company, or within the company of just one or a couple other people, from frequent introspection, and being in more low key environments.

This is not the same as shyness.  Shyness is about fear from social judgement.  Introversion and extroversion are about how you respond to external stimuli.  Two completely different things.

We tend to judge extroverts as being better students, when in fact introverts often get better grades and even in some cases, are smarter (according to research).  Many of our transformative leaders and important people throughout history have been introverts.  To name a few: Eleanor Roosevelt, Ghandi, Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Sir Isaac Newton, Steven Spielberg, Abraham Lincoln, J.K. Rowling, and Dr. Seuss.

All of these people describe themselves as quiet, introspective, introverted, preferring their own company to time spent in highly social environments.

When researchers look at the lives of the most creative people, they find those who are very good at exchanging and advancing ideas also have a serious streak of introversion to them.  This is because solitude is often a paramount ingredient to creativity.  Numerous poets, authors, inventors, engineers, etc, spend hours and hours in their own company.

With all of this said, there is a sliding scale of introversion and extroversion.  Most people tending to be some mixture of both.  Though the majority of us do tend towards one side more than the other, we each have moments and tendencies of both introversion and extroversion within.

Extroverts and introverts each carry crucial qualities and aspects to their tendencies which add towards our cultural landscape in meaningful ways.  However, our culture doesnt see it this way, tending towards prizing extroversion, talkativeness, and the most dominant, charismatic person in the room.  (Even though there is zero correlation between the loudest person being the smartest).

For some people, solitude and introspection is the air they breathe, its the life force of their most peaceful moments, life joy, and of much fulfillment.  We need to learn to value people just as equally with a need towards tending to their inner selves (those deep thinkers and solitary oriented beings), just as we do for the extroverts (aka, those life of the party, fun loving, energetic people) in our society.  Both introverts and extroverts have much to offer, within friendships, romantic relationships, the workplace, and as members of our community.  No one is better than the other.  We need them both.

Lastly, none of this is to say that there is anything wrong with being charismatic and outgoing.  Those are fantastic qualities.  Along with many other highly positive traits which extroverts possess.  Instead, its saying that the more freedom we give to introverts to be themselves, that we dont assume being quiet means dislike of social interaction or is a social impairment or detriment, that this is better for both extroverts and introverts alike.  That its not automatically marked as a strangeness if one isnt the loudest in the room.

That instead, we pause and shift our perspective to consider those who might be more reserved, standing quietly on the sidelines.  That we dont readily assume quiet to be boring, or "weird," or with less to offer (simply by means of their not shouting to the rooftops and sharing all with any person within earshot).  To cease assuming that one temperament is better than the other.  That instead, we start to look at introverts as being just as interesting, worthwhile, intelligent, with as much to offer, and who are just as great as extroverts.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Why having a Life List is Crucial

Most of you are likely to have heard the term "bucket list."  One that personally, I think has grown a tad overused and cliched.  That aside, there is much meaning and power to be found in keeping, what I prefer to call a "Life List" of your own.  This is essentially a list of experiences you want to have in your life, places you yearn to visit and see, accomplishments you hope to surmount and make happen, as well as, whom you want to be and become.  All of such, encompassed in ones life list.

When someone takes a couple of hours, or even time spread over several days to compose their life list, having such then adds a sense of direction to the rest of your lifeIt offers one a map of sorts, a focus and distinct goals to work towards.  Giving ones day to day life, as well as their big overall picture more a sense of meaning, purpose, and clarity.

I offer two concrete ways of approaching this project, the compiling of ones life list.

Method #1:  Make one overarching list, a master list of the things you plan to accomplish, experience, see, as well as whom you will grow into and be during your life.

Method #2:  Then, each year, maybe on January first, or sometime during autumn (say, Sept 1st, because to me, autumn is really the time of year that reflects new beginnings, a sense of starting over, and possibility in the air), plan out say, 10 goals from your main overarching list which you will achieve and complete within that year.  Dont do more than 10, as thats likely too much, possibly overwhelming, and then when you dont get to them all, will feel defeated and unmotivated.  However, much less than 10 is selling yourself short.

Method one and two can and should be used together.  While one could just use method #1 and thats all good, the most effective route is to do and utilize both actively.

Sometimes, compiling a life list is difficult.  It can leave people feeling stuck, unsure, wondering where to start and how possibly to begin conceptualizing and getting it all down on paper in an organized fashion.

To help with such, I offer my own updated life list as an example and hopefully, to assist in churning out or inspiring ideas of your own:

Venture to New Zealand, either for a couple weeks at once, or to live there for 9-12 months.

Become a published author, of actual books which are sold publicly.

The recipe for this gluten/grain free, sugar free, Earl Gray Lavender Cheesecake can be found here.

Vegan Blueberry Lavender Ice Cream.  Gluten/grain free, dairy free, and sugar free.  And SO good.  Here is how to make it.

Jewel Toned Antioxidant Quinoa Bowl, with kale, onions, dried cranberries, scallions, and pesto.  Delicious and light.  And its gluten/grain free (Quinoa is a seed), as well as sugar free, and a tiny bit of dairy in the pesto.  Here is the recipe.

Self publish a cookbook.

Visit Japan.

Sa Pa in Vietnam.

One of the famed floating villages in Vietnam.  Exactly as it sounds. A village, actually situated on water.






The famed floating markets in Thailand.

Floating markets.

Trek to and through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Experience the Galapagos Islands.

Embark on an Alaskan cruise.

Herzegovina, Bosnia

Mostar, Bosnia




Visit, within Europe: more of Italy, more of France, more of Scotland, Belgium, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia (Mostar, Herzegovina, and Blagaj), Turkey, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Poland.

Venture to and throughout several countries in Africa.  Including, seeing mountain gorillas in the wild.  With only 600 left in the world, they are close to extinction.  Observing them in their natural habitat is supposed to be one of the most wonderous and awe inspiring experiences a human can have.

Attend a writers retreat, somewhere romantic, naturesque, peaceful, and somewhere out in the country side.

Maintain a fit, able bodied, healthy body throughout the majority of my life.  Attend to high quality nutrition and diet, as well as my health with topmost priority, as once its gone, its difficult to get back and can majorly diminish your quality of life, as well as spirit.

Continue to maintain, as well as build new, emotionally deep, close knit, awesome friendships.  Keep the ones I have, with effort and intent, as long as they are still healthy and add to my life.  As well as, continually seek out new, inspiring, poignant connections.

Invest my whole heart into my romantic relationship.  Making it a top priority, one I infuse with effort, romance, surprise, and love.  Cherishing and celebrating this person and their presence in my life.

Possibly live in a different country (outside the US) again at some point.

Fluffy gluten/grain free, sugar free, Coconut Turmeric Pancakes.  Taste them here.

Chocolate Lovers Pie.  Gluten free and sugar free.  Here is how to make it.

Pumpkin Lavender Pancakes.  The best.

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Moist, chewy, cakey, just like the real deal.  These though are gluten/grain free, lactose free, and sugar free.  So yum.

Potentially have my own little sweet shop someday, either via the internet or an actual physical space where I sell tasty treats of my own making (which would be gluten/grain free, dairy free, and/or sugar free, each dessert offering falling into at least one, if not all of those categories).
(The photos of sweet treats above are my own recipes :-))

Backpack through Europe, or elsewhere which excites me, for a month in one fell swoop at some point.

Make a cozy respite of a home.  Must haves: a backyard of some kind, a fireplace, coziness abound, an abundance of tea and books, plush and comfortable seating areas, and an overall inviting air.  Major cherry on top if its somewhat close to a body of water, and should be within 30 minutes of a decently sized town.

For further ideas, inspiration, and fun, here is a previous life list I wrote up about 3 years ago.