Are you secretly an introvert? Do you even know what being an introvert really means? Introverts are often misunderstood, as the term introvert is often thought to be someone who is shy, is a wallflower at parties, and doesn’t like other people. This is not true.
Have you thought you might be an introvert but didn’t want to be?
I can’t emphasize enough that introverts are not all shy. Most people I know don’t realize I am one because they don’t understand what an introvert really is. Some people whom you may think are introverted may not be; they may just be quiet.
Maybe you think being an introvert is a bad thing. Nothing is further from the truth. The characteristics of an introvert will be more clear after you read through the list below.
Signs you may be an introvert
You often dread going to an event where there will be a lot of people
You relish the time you have alone, sneaking off to take a bath or go for a walk
You enjoy discussing your favorite topics with others
You tend to tune out when someone you don’t know well is giving you their entire life history
You need to get out for walks during work to take a break from all the people
You like people, you just need them in smaller doses
You prefer to spend time with friends one-on-one, or in very small groups
You dreaded your wedding reception (all those people to talk to)
You have a few close friends rather than many acquaintances
You are often stressed by being in a group of people
You listen more than you talk
You enjoy solitary activities like reading
You need a space of your own where you can go and shut the door
You get crabby after spending a lot of time around other people
You are humiliated if you think you made a mistake in public
You don’t easily share your feelings with others
You like creative and imaginative activities
You don’t like to talk to strangers
You may or may not be shy
Do some of these signs describe you? Once you understand you are an introvert it makes life a lot easier.
I have been an introvert my entire life. I come from a family of introverts as well, but I didn’t know about or understand what an introvert was. As an adult, I had a great conversation with a co-worker that really led me to understand the introvert/extrovert difference and myself better. My co-worker was an extrovert married to an introvert, and I was living with an extrovert at the time.
We discussed that the extrovert in the relationship needs to get out and be energized by people, while the introvert needs quiet time to recharge, so being in a group will drain that person. This revelation was so helpful to me in understanding some of the challenges in my relationship.
How can you use this information in your life? Once you understand what being an introvert is really all about how you are energized you can more easily take the time you need for yourself.
Limit the time you are in large groups and know that it is okay to need to leave. Let your family and friends know what to expect and what it means that you are an introvert. Having a significant other who understands your needs helps a great deal: My husband and I went to a large outdoor music festival recently; it was a long day, packed with great music. At the end of the day, the top tier musicians were playing and it was very crowded. I just wanted to crawl into a ball—the stimulation and crowd were too much, but my husband was as giddy as a schoolboy.
At no time has the difference between introverts and extroverts been more apparent to me. Another day at the same music festival he actually drove me home before the big acts because I was so overwhelmed by the large crowds and couldn’t stay. We now try to limit our festivals to smaller ones that don’t get so crowded.
Parties can be challenging, so let your close friends know you are an introvert and that you may need to leave 2-3 hours into their get-together. The number of people and the energy level may be too overwhelming for you. Three hours is usually my limit, but I know this now and I can let my friends know what to expect. Their understanding makes it a lot easier.
Being an introvert is a great thing, as you will observe things others don’t. There is so much going on in your mind at all times, so use that to your advantage. To the extroverts: I hope you find this helpful. My mother-in-law recently read the book, Quiet, which is about introverts, and now understands her oldest son much better because of it. I would recommend this book to everyone to gain a deeper understanding of what being an introvert means.
The most valuable thing an experienced person has is their experience. People make mistakes, learn from them, and adapt their life around them to become better people. Those people would then tell tales to others to help teach those lessons so that others would not have to make the same mistakes.
People still tell these stories today but in a slightly different format — they use speeches to express their experiences. Here are some valuable life lessons you can learn from some of the greatest inspirational speeches:
1. JK Rowling teaches us to not fear failure no matter how bad things become
It is a well-known fact that JK Rowling’s now-famous Harry Potter series was turned down by several publishers before it was finally picked up. Those publishers are likely kicking themselves in the pants right now. However, before that, JK Rowling was in a fairly dire situation and was on the brink of failure. Despite being turned down time and time again, she kept trying. Her efforts paid off. Harry Potter is now a ubiquitous character in today’s world culture. Despite failing over and over again, Rowling kept trying and fulfilled her dreams. You can watch her deliver some valuable life lessons in her Harvard commencement speech video above.
2. Steve Jobs teaches us to never settle
Steve Jobs had a fairly tumultuous life. He co-founded Apple, was kicked out of the company, came back, and then re-defined the mobile phone space with the iPhone. Even if iPhones aren’t the rage they once were, its iconic value is forever written in stone. One thing Jobs never did was settle. He lived life on his own terms and was rewarded for it by being dubbed one of the most revolutionary voices in technology of our time. In the Stanford commencement speech above, Jobs explains how you should never settle for what someone else wants out of your life. It’s your life and you should do what you want with it.
3. Admiral William H McRaven teaches us to make our beds every day
Anyone who has gone through the basic training of a military service will tell you it’s pretty difficult. However, every seemingly obnoxious step is actually a life lesson in disguise. This even applies to flawlessly making one’s bed every single morning. As Admiral William H McRaven teaches us, recruits are taught to make their beds every morning to remind them that even the little things in life matter. After all, how can you be expected to handle the biggest obstacles in your life if you can’t even handle the small and the mundane like making your bed every day? You can watch the entire speech in the video above.
4. Author David Foster Wallace teaches us that we’re a part of a greater existence
David Foster Wallace found fame in 1987 with his book The Broom of the System. Nearly 20 years later in 2005 he game a commencement speech at Kenyon College that is worth listening to at least once. In his speech, he reminds us that was are but a part of a huge, dynamic, ever changing interaction of life forms. In order to truly experience life, we need to leave our personal bubbles and interact with others even if it’s in an unpleasant way. Wallace states, “It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.” You can watch the whole speech above.
5. Stephen Colbert teaches us that life isn’t something you can plan
If there is anyone who knows about improvisation, it’s comedian Stephen Colbert. In his commencement speech at Northwestern University in 2011, Colbert reminded students that you cannot plan life. Life throws too many curve balls. There are too many unpredictable things that can happen. The most successful and happy people are not those who have a plan, but those who can roll with the punches and overcome the obstacles. He goes on to site his time as an improv comic and how all of the actors working together to create a scene out of literally nothing are all working for one another. He states that like improv comedy, you don’t know what happens next in life. You just make it up as you go along. You can watch the whole speech above.
6. Kurt Vonnegut teaches us to not sweat the small stuff
Some of our younger readers may not know Kurt Vonnegut. He is a famous author that found of of his success during the middle of last century. In 1999, Kurt Vonnegut was at Agnes Scott College giving a commencement speech. During the speech, he mentioned that in order to live a more complete life, people needed to let stuff go. He argued that you cannot reasonably expect others to forgive you for your mistakes if you cannot forgive others and that you cannot live life fostering a personal vendetta against others.
7. Neil Gaiman teaches us that success can be distracting.
Neil Gaiman is most known for his work in a number of literary mediums including journalism, comic books, and novels. In 2012, Gaiman gave a speech at the University of the Arts where he talked about success. He stated that when you become successful, you may be unintentionally swayed from performing the actions that made you successful. Gaiman recalled his early success and how he felt pressured to answer emails all day long and it actually prevented him from writing as much as he wanted. So he reminds us to keep doing what makes us successful and to not let others get in the way.
8. Barack Obama’s life lessons teaches us that you really can beat the odds
We know that not everyone likes Barack Obama but that doesn’t mean the man can’t deliver an amazing speech. In this 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convenction, Obama reminds that it is possible to beat the odds and become something great. He cites his own upbringing as an example and how he was never expected to make it as far as he did. It shows that when you’re passionate about something and when you try hard enough, you can accomplish almost anything. It’s important to note that Obama talks about this in 2004 and would become the President of the United States just four years later.
9. Robin Roberts reminds us that we each have the courage to overcome challenges
Robin Roberts knows a thing or two about courage. She is a breast cancer survivor and has done battle with a rare blood disease called myelodysplastic syndrome. Her sister once had to donate bone marrow just so Robin could remain alive. She was also ESPN’s first African American broadcaster in the early 1990’s. She’s a woman who works in an industry predominately populated by men. So when Robin Roberts takes the stage at the ESPYs and delivers a short lecture on having courage, we would do well to listen!
10. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that some things are more important than success
We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. So much so that we have a day of the year to celebrate him as a national holiday here in the United States. Most of us have listening to segments of his famous speech where he told the world about a dream he had. The main message of his famous speech is that racial inequalities needed to end and he was absolutely right. However, he also reminds us that there are things that are more important than success such as equal rights and treating each other with respect and kindness. If you somehow made it through school without watching the famous speech, we’ve got it linked above.
11. Jim Carrey reminds us that even if you keep it safe, you can still fail so you might as well go big
Jim Carrey delivered a commencement speech at Maharishi University recently that went absolutely viral. You may know it as the one minute video that will change your life. They weren’t lying but they weren’t telling the whole truth because the speech was actually 28 minutes long. During the speech, Carrey talks about his father who wanted to be a comedian but decided to take the safe route and become an accountant. As it turns out, his father was laid off and his family ended up poor anyway. With that, Carrey tells us that you can still end up failing even if you play it safe so you might as well swing for the fences and do what you want to do.
12. Bill Murray teaches us that it’s the hard times that determine if someone really loves you
You may have heard the story about Bill Murray crashing someone’s bachelor party and delivering a speech. It turns out the speech was both short and fairly epic. During the speech, Bill Murray challenged the bachelors to travel around the world with the women they love and go to places that are difficult to go to and deal with. He says if you can get back to the United States and you still love each other, then you should get married right then and there. It’s a great message. It’s easy to love one another when times are good but do you still love each other when the times are bad? If so, that’s true love according to Bill Murray.
Inspiration comes from everywhere and from anyone. There are a countless number of speeches and stories that can teach us an incalculable number of life lessons.
All these speeches almost share the same message: Don’t be afraid to fail and keep trying.
If you also want to live your best life like the above successful people, this is what you should start doing: