The Extrovert Trap And How To Avoid It

My recent self avoiding the trap
My recent self at the writing desk, avoiding the trap

 

An eye opener

 

I’m reading Susan Cain‘s book Quiet, and coming to realize that, even after years of creative leadership and world-engulfing artistic collaborations, I am, deep down inside, an introvert. This is probably why right now, where I am in front of the computer on my own writing. It seems to be the best place to do my creative work. At 54 years old, I finally managed to avoid the extrovert trap with ease and flow.

Yes, It’s my birthday in a few days, and I’m 54. When I think about my life, I realize I am happy to be somewhat retired. I say somewhat because there are still things I do at people’s requests in the circus world. But I mostly spend time alone, writing, which suits me so well, I wonder what I’ve been thinking all these years when I was so completely “out there,” taking social and personal risks that seem unimaginable now.

For god’s sake, I have been a performer for over 25 years…

Here’s a quote from Susan’s Quiet Manifesto: Article no. 3 –

“The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.”

I have two kids like this at home. They are doing quite well socially, but I am sure they prefer to be alone and in their own minds. Just like me, and their father for that matter. 

What about you, your kids?

Forgetting ourselves in creative work

 

“Quiet leadership is not an oxymoron,” says article no. 8 in the Quiet manifesto. 

This makes me think of “the Brain Trust.” To be clear, the Brain Trust is an idea I’ve been harboring for a long time. Since I wrote this post. I have been searching for kindred spirits to join it, people who are leaders in their field, adventurous as well, with whom it would be good to invest some quality time during the coming year, improving our lives.

For a while now, since reading The Practice of groundedness by Brad Stulberg, I’ve been thinking about the way of the thoughtful, reflective, meditating, recovery-attentive leader. How all of us leaders fell into that trap of “being out there” in front of people for various periods of time, unaware of possible and even probable needs for time out and some blessed solitude and reflection time with ourselves and ourselves alone.
 
For the past 20 years, I’ve been working with great teams to create and perform our work. Often during the intensive process of creation, I have forgotten about myself. My own needs, physical and mental, for the sake of the work. We all do when we are in the process of serving an elaborate work of art that needs to come to life. We forget ourselves in the process. That’s a risk for creative people
 

The trap of “out there” and the need to be alone

 
Not less so when social media and the internet encourage us to share every aspect of the process as we do it. Being “out there” is ten times amplified in today’s world. This is what Susan’s book is about. It’s a trap based on misconceptions of who we are and what we may be capable of. This book rekindled in me the need I’ve always had, though ignoring it so many times, to be alone

 

So I’m thinking of all the moments it felt like a failure when I couldn’t handle things anymore or was too exhausted to realize all I needed was a good dose of myself. In view of the above, I think we all need to schedule some time in our calendars to meet with ourselves.  Schedule some me time where you either:

* Go for a walk with yourself

* Write in your journal

* Meditate

In the last article of her Quiet manifesto Susan Cain quotes Mahatma Gandhi

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

I think this is what the plan is for me now. With the Brain Trust, working individually with people. Working with ourselves and with a few others, deeply at a time.

“The most important point in Buddhism is that each of us practices it ourselves…This attitude is essential,” said Kosho Uchiyama in his marvelous book Opening the hand of thought: foundations of Zen Buddhist practice.

Open the hand of thought – share yours in the comments below.

 

If this speaks to you, it may speak to your friends too,
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2 Comments

  • Eviatar Nevo

    YOU RAISED A FUDAMENTAL PROBLEM. EXTROVERT AND INTROVERT HAVE HIGH GENETIC BASIS, BUT THE VARIATION WITHIN HUUMANITY IS ENORMOUS AND THERE IS NO RECIPE FOR ALL SINCH EACH CARIES A DIFFERENT QUANTITY OF BOTH GENETIC AND IN ADDITION A DEFFERENT ENVIRONMENENT FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL AND COMBINING GENETICS AND ENVIRONMENT EACH OF US IS DIFFERENT.SO OVERGENERALIZING IS WRONG. THE BASIC EVIL OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IS THAT IT REGARDS GROUPS AS THE UNITS AND NOT THE INDIVIDUAL. AND NOW TO SCHOLASHIP. IT HIGHLY CORRELATED WITH HUMANISM AND LIBERALISM.HENCE LEADERS MUST FIRST AND FOREMOSY BE HIGHLY EDUCATED NOT LIKE TRUMP, PUTIN, ERDUAN. BULSANERI, AND URDAN ARE NEGATIVE EXAMPLES AND LEADERS LIKE GHANDI, MANDELA, MARKEL, ESHKOL ARE POSITIVE EXAMPLES.NOTE THAT TRUE JUDAISM REPRESENTEED BY OUR PROPHETS REPRESENT IDEAL LEADERS FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE, PEACE, EQUALITY, LOVE OF THE WEAK (ORPHNS, WIDOES , AND THE STRANGER, AND DIVINE LIFE PLUS FIGHTING SUPERSTITIONS. ENCE THEY ELIMINATED FALSE PROPHETS AND GODS BUILT OF INORGANIC MATERILS ETC.
    A VERY IMPORTANT TRAIT IS TRYING FOR IMPROVING SOCIETY AS A WHOLE TO THE BETTER AND TO WORK FOR THE COMMUNITY AS YOU DID, OR I DID. iT IS ADMIRABLE NOW THAT AFTER CONTRIBUTING SO MUCH TO THE COMMUNITY WITH YOUR IMMENSE CREATIVITY YOU NOW DEVOTE MORE TO YOURSELF SINCE BEING ALONE PRODUCTIVITY IS A BLESSING, AND A VERY IMPORTANT PERSPECTIVE IS TO BECOME IN LOVE WIT HARMONIUS NATURE AND LEARN HOW TO LIVE WITH IT INTIMATELY AND WISELY. NATURE IS OUR BEST SCHOOL SINCE IT UNDERWENT BILLIONS OF YEARS OF TRIAL AND ERROR AND INCREASINGLY IMPROVED ADAPTIVE SURVIVAL OF ITS ASTRONOMICALLY DIVERGENT ORGANISMS FROM SIMPLE TO COMPLEX, EVOLVABILITY IS THE BIGGEST WISDOM OF NATURE WHICH EVOLVES AND CHANGE FOLLOWING THE CHANGING ENVIRONMENTS, AND BECOMES BETTER SELF ORGANIZED IN ORDER TO SUCCEED AND SELECT THE BEST IN SURVIVAL OF THE ITTEST.iMPROVING COGNITION AND ADATIVE EVOLUTION BY MYRIADS NETWORKING MECHANISMS, MOST OF THEM STILL UNKNOWN LEAVING TO HUMANITY TO SELECT THE BEST FOR EACH AND ALL AND PREVENT BIODIVERSUTY AND HUMANITY FROM TOTAL EXTINCTION (DESPITE MASSIVE EXTINCTIONS IN THE PAST.

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