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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

Loner, elitist, selfish, arrogant … self-centred. That’s me in a nut shell – so they say.

Man have I fought that perception; one I so naturally reflect. I’ve tried so hard to be more social, more interested, more cultured, more engaged. But I’ve never been able to get around the corner. It’s always felt contrived. And left me exhausted.

I’ve never been confident in my introversion. Gradually more confident, but never convinced. But my short career leads me to believe that it isn’t as horrific a personality as I’ve been lead to believe. And I’ve begun to suspect it’s actually a very important, valuable, and helpful way of being.

For every great brilliance there is an equal and opposite darkness. For every loner there is a thinker. For every elitist, there are impeccable standards. For every selfish bastard, a passion for perfection. For every arrogant fop, the audacity to swing at world leaders.

Introversion isn’t bad, it just has consequences.

A good introvert will have:

– a rich, innate knowledge of abilities
– a thorough and deep understanding of personal passions
– a sharp eye for life’s lessons and a quick hand when learning from mistakes
– a high success rate delivering on risky commitments (we know we can get there)
– something to back-up ambitions

My question is not what which issues hurt the introvert. My question is why everyone isn’t everybody trying to be one?

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Commentary

“And I’ve begun to suspect it’s actually a very important, valuable, and helpful way of being.”

You have been all of those things to me.

I was just reading this morning about the importance of rest, possibly introversion, at least solitude.

“One of the triumphs of the cult of busyness is that most of us feel guilty for stopping. Efficiency is our fetish, production our worship. If you’re not producing, and quickly, what good are you? How can you justify your existence without busyness? How can you account for your being if not on the ledger of your doing? … Such living always carries with it a death penalty. It bloats the ego, wizens the soul, hardens the heart. It is the way of grasping, which always, by its very nature, leaves us unable to receive. … There are some things that only grow in stillness-or silliness-that only flourish in rest, or laughter. No one plants a garden and then keeps plowing the ground. You have to wait. You have to let things lie still, let seeds break open and spin their roots downward, push their stems upward. You have to let earth and sky and rain do what only they can do.”

For anyone else reading, Dustin’s my brother. Thanks Dust.

This is a beautiful reminder. “Grow in stillness – or silliness …” Nice.

Having my son, Keaton, has brought back a lot of silliness. But, you know, I’m not sure it does the trick for me. But one of the other things he’s brought out, that does do the trick, is the return of wonder.

There’s this thing he does when really impressed: he purses his lips, as though whistling, his eyes widen, he leans forward until mere inches away and exclaims with all the wonder in the world … “oooh wow!”

Stopping daily, even hourly, to exclaim with wonder … perhaps a function of introversion … doubt it … but certainly a rich, rich part of life.

The qualities speak of wisdom and the development of comfort with oneself. Utimately the choice to be within or without is probably a function of who’s listening and the value of speaking. Comfort with quiet is scary to most, however, it yields an uncommon sharpness of perception. Moreso, comfort with quiet is happiness in stillness which may just be mastery of life.

Thanks Joey. You’ve tied this nicely to comments that John is making in another post.

John suggests there that Christ was “at the still-point of the world’s history.” A direct link to the mastery of life you’ve described here.

I’m interested, do you think introversion is a chosen way of being or a character-driven way of being?