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Why Solitude is Vital for Highly Creative Introverts
Article by Rain San Martin
There are Two Types of Introverts
Today's cultural meaning of the term "introvert", refers to the way in which one recharges. The extravert is energized by social situations, whereas the introvert is renewed in solitude. However there is a broad spectrum of introverted personality types who need respite from company. Some may be competitive leaders, who speak as though performing, expending energy as they talk or listen. These confident and sometimes flamboyant individuals will need large blocks of time to recoup. The other end of the spectrum is the reclusive misanthrope, who will go to great lengths to avoid social company. What they both share in common is the introverted personally trait, thriving in the oasis of solitude. Even if you are a talkative extrovert, you can discipline yourself to speak less and spend more time in deep introspective thought.
An excerpt from the article, Introversion: The Often Forgotten Factor Impacting the Gifted, explains that the introvert can either have positive or negative traits. Discipline and the formation of new habits should help to develop more of the characteristics found in Group A. Never assume you are born into a negative group stereotype:
"Henjum (1982) sees introverts as belonging to two distinct groups:
Group A: Self-sufficient, confident, hardworking, with firm goals, self-actualizing, reserved, preferring activities that involve inner experience and introspection; and
Group B: Shy, timid, withdrawn with low self-concept, lacking in communication skills, demonstrating fear of people, dread of doing things in front of others, who prefer being left alone.
One can only conjecture whether or not some of the elements in Group B are a result of being constantly criticized for not being more social or more outgoing. Since most individuals belong to the extrovert category (3 to 1), being introverted commonly means being misunderstood, just like giftedness!"
Historical Introverts Who Recharged in Solitude
Characteristics of the Introvert
We should not presume that we are a certain personality type without the ability to change. As one who seeks quite for spiritual and mental restoration, we should tackle all areas of our life with virtue. Mold yourself into the kind of person you want to become.
Characteristics of the Introvert to embrace:
- A good listener.
- Contemplative and introspective. A deep thinker.
- Embraces solitude. Silence and stillness allows for Gods presence to be experienced. “Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
Possible characteristics of the introvert to avoid:
- Shyness (note: An introvert is not necessarily shy, in fact they may be extraordinarily confident and bold). Do one thing each day or week that takes you out of your comfort zone. You will soon develop your confidence muscle.
- Aloofness. Be approachable and sincerely interested in others.‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
How an Introvert Can Recharge With Houseguests
An extended company stay can be exhausting for the introvert. Though they may love the people whom are visiting, continual socializing will soon take it's toll if the visit is not limited.
Each day take the time to engage in meaningful conversation and enjoy in the fun social engagement. Yet you will need to systematically retreat before your energy levels drain. Prolonged socializing will affect you the way Kryptonite effects Superman. You grow weaker. Escape to a quite room to work. Turn on the fan to create white noise.
Wisdom in Silence
A temptation of the extrovert may be to speak too much. One of Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues was that of silence. "Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation." It is common wisdom to listen before speaking. And to weight your words carefully.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Proverbs 17:28) This timeless proverb provided inspiration for much needed change in my life. Not only does economy of speech make one appear wise, you can bottle your energy for the manifestation of creative works.
Collective Groupthink in the Workplace Squanders Talented Introverts
One way that today's corporate culture is wasting the talent of introverted employees is in the way they structure the workplace. The "Open Plan" office structure which is currently in vogue, poses numerous obstacles to creativity and innovation. Grouping employee's side by side offering no respite from continual interruption or background chatter than that of a pair of . The article Bose noise canceling headphonesThe Rise of the New Groupthink exposes the folly of "groupthink":"Studies show that open-plan offices make workers hostile, insecure and distracted. They’re also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, stress, the flu and exhaustion. And people whose work is interrupted make 50 percent more mistakes and take twice as long to finish it."
Jesus Escaped From the Crowds to Pray and Be With God
This is not to say he was an introvert, yet it illustrates that he needed time away from people to recharge and spend time with God the Father. "At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. (Luke 4:42)",
Socializing is Draining to the Introvert
"As a card-carrying introvert, I am one of the many people whose personality confers on them a preference for the inner world of their own mind rather than the outer world of sociability. Depleted by too much external stimulation, we thrive on reflection and solitude. Our psychic opposites, extraverts, prefer schmoozing and social life because such activities boost their mood. They get bored by too much solitude." (Revenge of the Introvert - Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D.)
A Conversation Between an Introspective Introvert and a Party Animal Extrovert
Susan Cain Explains That Introverts Prefer Socializing with Fewer People
Quotes by Genius Introverts
Lonerwolf.com assembled a few gem quotes from geniuses who consider solitude to be vital:
“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.” (-Nikola Tesla)
“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” (- Albert Einstein)
“Without great solitude no serious work is possible.” (-Pablo Picasso)
“Often whole days pass without my speaking to anyone.” (-Vincent Van Gogh)
“My work is always better when I am alone and follow my own impressions.” (-Claude Monet)
Practice the Discipline of Solitude, Observation and Contemplation to Unleash Your Genius
Julia Cameron, author of implores creatives to spend a minimum of two hours week going on a solo outing for what she terms an "artists date". This is to refill the well, giving artists new material for inspiration and vital solitude. Might not the extrovert learn from these habits and in doing so develop more of their The Artists Waygenius? How to Be More Introverted if You're an Extrovert suggests practical steps you can implement into your daily routine to develop the contemplative part of the brain.
However, while introverts are a minority group in society, they form the majority of gifted people. Moreover, it appears that introversion increases with intelligence so that more than 75% of people with an IQ above 160 are introverted. (-Lesley Sword, Gifted and Creative Services Australia )
© 2014 Rain San Martin