Introvert Tips

Fellow introverts, we’re in this together. For all my life, I’ve been an introvert, the degree to which has fluctuated. By definition, an introvert is one whose energy level decreases with respect to time spent socializing. I was glad to find out just over 50% of the population is introverted and that introversion is defined by energy levels and in no way vindicates stereotypes of EQ, social smarts, talkativeness or any of that matter. Over the years, I evolved many tactics to deal with typical introversion problems (local changes to behavior) but over time I found one global change in mindset to work the best.

The idea is to think of our energy level as a battery, which generally drains when we’re socializing (this depends on the environment) and recharges when we’re alone. The key is to understand both the voltage and capacity of our battery.

Capacity is the amount of energy expenditure we have available per day. To optimize our performance, we want to consistently use about 80-90% of this capacity over the social hours of the day and define it as your daily energy expenditure, leaving 10-20% for buffer.

Voltage is the maximum amount of energy we deliver at any instant. Over-delivering may result in a break in circuit. An introvert who finds difficulty in interacting with many people simultaneously, for example, is probably of low voltage.

I came to realize throughout my life that almost all the times I begin feeling uncomfortable in a social situation is either due to low battery or a voltage break, and I believe this applies to the general introvert population as well. To optimize the efficiency to which we use energy while preventing a voltage break, here’re a breakdown to how you can go about doing so:

  • Try to mentally lay out the activities you’ll be involved in for the day every morning.
    • Predict the high-voltage situations.
      • For each such situation, mentally prepare or break it down.
      • Examples: Instead of winging a meeting, prepare notes. Instead of interacting with the entire project team, isolate some to talk to individually.
      • For each such situation, “allocate” the necessary energy to those slots, and subtract from your total energy expenditure.
    • For rest of day, visualize an energy-time graph, allocating appropriate energy to situations by their weight.
      • If the area under the curve exceeds the remaining energy expenditure (from previous step), “scale” the curve so the area matches your expenditure.

Tips for increasing capacity:

  • Restful sleep – This is self-explanatory.
  • Physical activity (esp. weight training) – Physical activity has been shown to give to energy boosts, both scientifically and anecdotally.

Tips for increasing voltage:

  • Experience – Like any other skill, quality practice with high-leverage situations make you better (neuroplasticity takes care of it).
  • Planning – An immediate action you can take is to “simulate” the situation. If the situation is talking to a girl, consider possible contexts and pathways the conversation can go, and have a few jokes ready.

 

How precise you want to plan is up to you, but for me at least being aware of the breakdown has helped me immensely. Now, being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t increase your capacity and voltage. In fact, you should, until the point of diminishing marginal returns.

Hope this post was of value to you.

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