Some of us get energy from being around others, and some of us prefer time to ourselves. Although the media and cultural norms often seem to value one over the other, I strongly believe that knowing and embracing your natural introversion or extroversion is extremely important.
Here are the top three things I’ve learned about embracing your inner introvert extrovert:
Letters from the dorm: making the most of your university life and staying motivated in your final year
1 Find your optimal energy level
Everyone has their ideal level of stimulation. Maybe you’re an extrovert and you need those two days a week with friends to get enough motivation to study on your own. Or maybe you need a full day, with nothing planned, to recharge.
Whatever it is, figure it out your optimum energy level so you can perform and feel at your best.
2 Identify your goals
Sometimes you’ll have to step outside your comfort zone to achieve goals that are close to your heart. For example, an introvert who loves research will one day need to communicate with others and share their research to make impact. It’s important to know exactly what goals you want to achieve, which will let you know what sacrifices you need to make.
3 Know your limits - and don’t cave in to pressure
You cannot force yourself to be someone you aren’t. Western culture in particular place strong emphasis on extroversion, so there is a lot of pressure to try and be outspoken, social, and charismatic to become successful at work or at school.
I had to learn the hard way that forcing yourself to be more extroverted than you are drastically impacts your energy levels, and simply isn’t sustainable. For a while I lived the life of a social butterfly – I was always out and spending my time with friends, joining clubs or taking part in different activities.
Although I loved it at times, there would always be a week where I was unable to get out of bed. I would skip classes, cancel all plans, feel terrible about my absence, pick myself up again and repeat.
So, should you stay home or go out tonight? At the end of the day, you are who you are. Understand what gives you energy, and use that as a guide. Don’t try to become someone you’re not because eventually, you’ll burn out.