January Book: The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney

Anybody in the mood for another introvert book? I am.

The blurb on this one reads:

One out of every four people feels overwhelmed at the thought of a business meeting, dreads walking into a party, hates having to make small talk with strangers, feels alone in a crowd – and always prefers to sit on the sidelines and observe. They’re introverts, and now comes the book to buttress their resolve and help them find understanding and success living in an extrovert world. After dispelling common myths about introverts – they’re not antisocial, they’re not necessarily shy or aloof – BEING AN INTROVERT IN AN EXTROVERT WORLD explains the real issues. Introverts are hardwired from birth to focus inward, so outside stimulation can easily become “too much” – chitchat, phone calls, parties, office meetings can all be overwhelming, sending introverts fleeing for a quiet corner. (Excerpt taken from Amazon.com)

Sounds exciting. Let’s get on with it, then!

 

 

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If you want to know what really matters in life

Try staying awake for 24 hours. By then your energy levels will be condensed to only those things you need to pay attention to.

The living room’s a mess? It’s not important.
You haven’t worked on that paper? You can do it later.
How many likes did you get on Instagram? Who cares?
How do you pronounce that word you just read on the bus? Whatever.

In the end, you’ll find out the only things that you really really need – and I’ll tell you this now in case you don’t want to lose sleep over it:

  1. Food
  2. The toilet, and of course
  3. Sleep.

You’re welcome.

 

Pay attention to your dreams

Oftentimes dreams are the leaking of thoughts and emotions we suppress. Something tragic happens one day and we decide we don’t care, and yet we dream about it over and over again. Or, we convince ourselves that we are no longer afraid of an anticipated or imagined event and yet there it is, happening in our dreams.

One of the best gifts introverts have is the ability to be self-aware. We don’t have to be Freud to be experts on dream analysis; we only have to pay attention to the things we ignore, and the messages that come back to us in a rebound effect.

Throwing pearls to pigs

I am a Christian. And part of that means that I ought to be very passionate about sharing Jesus with everyone, especially those who don’t know him.

But let me be honest.

Some people aren’t there to listen to you, they’re there because they’re looking for an argument. And we know from history that religion and faith account for endless conflict.

I am sorry if any of my brothers and sisters in the faith will be offended by this, but the Bible also says in Matthew 7:6, “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.”

What I do personally, is gauge the other person’s intent. You can tell immediately when they’re looking for trouble. For example, I was with a non-Christian colleague in the staff room where I arranged the boxes where we’d put our Secret Santas. I asked him if he’d already got his present and he said, “No, I didn’t join the Secret Santa because I’m not stupid.”

What do you say to that? Nothing.

I know Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus, but the essence of gift giving is ultimately the gift of the Saviour’s life to us who do not deserve him. And if you ask me, some people, at certain moments, do not deserve an answer.

Why I don’t speak up

If you don’t stand up for yourself, even when you know you’re in the right, people will see you as a pushover and keep stepping on you. That’s the sad reality of it.. Unfortunately, though, I just can’t be bothered.

In my head is an entire universe, and it is there I retreat to, even when I’m at work – and especially then – to keep up my happiness level. As others might put it, it keeps my sanity at bay. And the things contained within that universe are the only things I care about. Nothing else matters.

So when someone tries to place blame on me at work even when I’m certain I’m not at fault, I immediately decide the energy I will be spending standing up for myself isn’t worth it, and the stress that I’ll be under whilst in the state of conflict will only ruin my otherwise relatively peaceful day, and I let it go. I don’t say another word about the subject, either in offence or defence, and I respond, as always, in silence.

When given the choice to fight or flee, I flee. I retreat. I go into the universe inside my mind and stay there. But not without making a mental note never to trust those people again.

The one thing the internet can’t give answers to

If you looked through my search history you’d probably panic and ring for help straight away.

No, I’m not planning to kill myself.

It amazes me how we can get answers to practically everything online, even the most unthinkable things, but you can’t get anyone to tell you:

  • How to most effectively kill yourself
  • Where and when to do it to achieve the greatest effect
  • What to do before you finally do it

Instead, any search that contains “suicide” or “kill myself” returns a gazillion links telling you where to get help NOT to do it.

And that, I think, is a good thing.

Unless you’re a novelist, then it’s very, very unhelpful.

I think I know what my secret Santa is getting me

Last week, over dinner, one of my friends asked me, “Do you have a favourite author?”

In my head, I went:
“Of course I do, what sort of question is that?”
“Yes I do, too many to count, in fact.
“Come on. That’s like asking me to pick a favourite child.”

So of course, my head was too crowded to realise that it was probably a probing question to find out what to get me for Christmas.

Of course it was.

Don’t you think so?

I’m quite excited.

 

Introverts, extroverts, and hugging in church

A couple of Sundays ago, I happened to sit between two friends: an extrovert to my left and an introvert to my right.

After the last song, the vicar stood up and told everyone to greet those next to them a good evening and say hello. Chatter and noise gradually filled the room as everybody started hugging and shaking hands and asking how each other was and oh what lovely weather we have today.

I looked at the friend to my right and smiled. She looked back at me awkwardly and said, “I hate this bit.”

“Me too,” I said, feeling awkward myself.

Then the girl to my left turned to me and said with such enthusiasm that she could have been jumping in her seat, “Oh, this is my favourite part! Everyone just loving everybody! Don’t you think so?”

“Yes,” I said, mirroring her excitement.

And I stood there in silence for a few seconds, quite amazed and amused. For I really did mean both yeses.

 

December Book: What’s the best Christmas book you’ve ever read?

I have yet to find this.

My best Christmas¬†movie would probably be Home Alone. I grew up with it; it brings fond memories.¬†I also like The Polar Express, Miracle on 34th Street, Mrs. Santa Claus, Jingle All the Way and many others I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I don’t think I have a particular Christmas book I’d call my favourite.

I might scour the internet for some recommendations this month, but while I’m at it, any suggestions?